Books by Katrina Roeckelein

MAKING UP MEGABOY by Virginia Walter
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1998

With a series of shocked responses to an apparently random murder, Walter (Hi, Pizza Man, 1995) challenges readers to make sense of a senseless act. On his 13th birthday, Robbie Jones takes his father's handgun, shoots an elderly Korean store owner, then crouches numbly in a tree until apprehended. Why? Robbie's teacher (``He was never a behavior problem''), classmates (``a geeky little guy''), parents (``He wasn't a bad boy''), witnesses, lawyer, and police officers are all mystified. Robbie disappears into prison without offering an explanation, and only a few enigmatic clues emerge: his infatuation with a classmate; his tough-talking, utterly clueless father; the superhero he and a friend create whose specialty is helping children in trouble. The book is obtrusively designed; using an array of typefaces, blocks of text clipped and pasted at an angle, and dark, distorted, computer- manipulated photo-montages, Roeckelein creates an ominous, sometimes disorienting atmosphere that suggests a turmoil in Robbie that never shows up in the text. Only near the end does he make a statement, and that indirectly, with a comic-book scenario in which Megaboy, sensitive to ``unspoken cries for help,'' makes ``a human child born on the wrong planet'' his sidekick. An eerie, disturbing puzzle that leaves readers to identify and assemble the pieces themselves, with results that may not be satisfying. (Fiction. 11-13) Read full book review >