CENTER OF THE WORLD by Andreas Steinhöfel


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Age Range: 14 & up
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In this hazy, fairytale-like, tome-sized import from Germany, 17-year-old Phil shares a secluded, run-down castle with his outcast mom and estranged twin sister. Longing for male companionship, fatherless Phil stumbles upon dark-eyed, distant star-runner Nicholas, with whom he immediately falls head over heels in love. To his surprise, Nicholas makes the first blunt move in their seduction, and what begins with this meeting leads to further sexual encounters, trysts that are purely physical, leaving Phil emotionally empty and wary of Nicholas’s true intentions. Beautifully written and circularly lyrical, Steinhöfel’s first US release balances Phil’s pained past and burgeoning present with insightfully parallel images that are full of well-drawn, interconnected, non-didactic metaphors that also manage to carry the story. Unfortunately, the overwhelmingly huge page count will no doubt kill most teen appeal. And, given the meandering quality of storytelling—especially when the more titillating parts are cut short and replaced with flashbacks from Phil’s troubled history—only the most determined teen reader will make it to the end, but not necessarily without reward. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 10th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-72943-X
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2005


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