DIVE by Adele Griffin


Age Range: 11 - 13
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PLB 0-7868-2389-5 From Griffin (The Other Shepards, 1998, etc.), a poignant, perceptive tale of a teenager on a self-destructive spiral, seen through the eyes of his younger, more grounded stepbrother. Written as a monologue Ben addresses to his older stepbrother Dustin (“I never met anyone with less need for people than you, but not needing isn’t the same as not touching”), the story develops around the last time the two boys meet, in a hospital room after Dustin’s latest semi-intentional accident, and concludes with a memorial after Dustin ends his life. Through Ben’s second-person narration, readers learn how Dustin never recovered from his mother’s death from cancer, and how he behaved with unalloyed hostility when his father, Lyle, met and married Gina, mother of Ben. Gina, ever-restless and irresponsible, eventually moves on, and Dustin is the one who follows her across the country, while Ben stays behind, more comfortable with Lyle’s roots and boundaries. Ben comes off as a sharp, strong-minded observer, aware of what makes the people around him tick, and with a gift for pinpointing the traits and attitudes on which relationships are founded or founder. Thoughtful readers will appreciate his insight, enjoy the ringside seat as restrained, rational Lyle meets Mallory, a flamboyant, take-charge TV personality, and come to understand both the dangers and the appeal of Dustin’s choices. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7868-0440-8
Page count: 159pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1999