POSTER BOY by Dede Crane


Age Range: 14 & up
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Cruising along on the fringes of stoner life is cool with 16-year-old Gray Fallon. A cineplex McJob provides cash, but buying pot drains his savings account. After splashing around together in a hot tub, Natalie (who has a voice like Lois on Family Guy) seems willing to punch Gray’s V-card. Life’s all good until Gray’s younger sister, 12-year-old Maggie, begins to complain about aches in her legs and arms. It’s a rare form of terminal cancer. Deep in denial, Gray’s father withdraws and loses himself in work. Gray and his mother obsessively research possible carcinogens to pinpoint anything that may have triggered the once-effervescent Maggie’s cancer. Crane effectively shows a family unraveling, and Gray’s authentic teen narration springs from the pages. The plot slows when Gray decides to pull a Thoreau and live on a farm, refusing to eat anything containing toxins. Maggie’s life ebbs away as Gray slowly comes to realize what’s important. There’s a message about poisoning our bodies here, but the real draw is Maggie’s doomed battle. It’s a three-hankie weeper. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-88899-855-2
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2009