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HOTHOUSE by Chris Lynch

HOTHOUSE

By Chris Lynch

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-167379-5
Publisher: HarperTeen

A concise exploration of manhood, heroism and the psychology of a small northern town in the aftermath of a fire that kills two firefighters. Russ, the son of one of the duo now dubbed Outrageous Courageous, is filled with both grief and pride at the town's outpourings of gratitude and hero-worship. Then an investigation reveals more about the incident: The two men abused prescription painkillers and were high the night they died. As the town turns on the two men and their families, Russ struggles to make sense of his adoring but now tainted memories of his father. Brief, evocative flashbacks reveal Russ's relationship with his warm but sometimes reckless father, and Russ's pain and bewilderment are palpable. A climax involving a new fire is too perfectly symbolic to be believed, and a few minor characters—particularly female ones—are vehicles for Russ's self-discovery rather than people in their own right. Nevertheless, this an affecting and insightful drama, if a trifle overdetermined. (Fiction. 12 & up)