THE KNIFE THAT KILLED ME by Anthony McGowan

THE KNIFE THAT KILLED ME

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Paul Varderman, a Year Nine student at his mediocre local school, is caught between the quiet acceptance of the outcast students and the harsh domination of the school bully, Roth. Attempting to divide himself between the two groups, Paul encounters increasing resistance that eventually forces him to choose a side—a choice with deadly consequences. McGowan has two perfectly honed narrative modes: “leader of the freaks” Shane’s calm and collected recollections and Paul’s reactive and uncertain voice. There is a definite “import” flavor to the tale; British slang peppers the text, and some of the terms will be unfamiliar to American readers. It won’t keep them from getting caught up in the story, though. The gradual swell of tension in the narrative is a counterpoint to the bland normality of Paul’s daily life, an existence that the author accurately captures page after page. Depicting brutality without a hint of glamour, this tale of alienation and reaction cuts deeply into school culture and the teenage mind. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 13th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-385-73822-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2010