FAST COMPANY by D. James Smith


Age Range: 12 - 14
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A depressing, downbeat tale that attempts to make sense of the lives of some highly dysfunctional, unlikable people, but never quite succeeds. Life in the small desert town of Whitson, California, is not easy for anyone who lives there. Cat, 15, lives with her single mother Jackie, a hard-living barmaid whose relationships with men never work out. Jason is jaded beyond his years and full of contempt for his stodgy parents, who simply can’t deal with him; his one great passion is in-line skating, his means of escape from an otherwise pointless life, with a gang of skaters who show him the respect he gets nowhere else. While fleeing from a crime, Jason crashes into a younger boy, killing him, a fact that hardly seems to register. Meanwhile, Cat is pregnant; she’s always loved Jason and hopes that he will love her back. Her chance to start over arrives when she miscarriages, but Jason is not so lucky; his encounter with the older brother of the boy he killed results in a terrible accident that changes Jason’s life forever, but cannot change the person he has become. Readers will breathe a sigh of relief if they make it to the conclusion of this book; some of it resembles literary psychobabble, but the images—of desperate lives careening out of control—linger. The passages of remarkably poised, fluid writing make Smith’s debut, despite its disheartening message, unusually strong. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7894-2625-0
Page count: 182pp
Publisher: DK Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1999