Third in a series of books (The Tuesday Cafe, 1998, not reviewed, etc.) set in Canada, featuring 16-year-old Harper Winslow from a suburb of Edmonton. Harper is pleasantly surprised when his conventional mother says she’s sending him to a camp for young writers. The first person he meets at camp is Mickey Taylor, enthusiastic but goofy, whose twin sister, Sunny, and father are vacationing in a nearby cabin. From the first, Harper loves everything about Sunny, and their relationship continues after camp is over. The Taylors are everything Harper’s family is not: Mickey and Sunny are schooled at home, their mother is a freelance writer, and the atmosphere in their house is relaxed. The comedy in this tale comes from Harper’s attempts to conceal his lack of romantic experience from Sunny, culminating in a very funny scene in which she repeats his fabrications about mythical former girlfriends to the Winslows. Trembath’s refreshing tale wrings from a boy’s dating foibles some genuinely tender scenes; when it looks as if Sunny might go away for a year to attend art school, Harper lands with a bump and struggles with his feelings. His first-person narrative is natural-sounding and engaging, and readers will relish this story of first love from, for a change, a boy’s perspective. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-55143-121-1

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999


The format of this taut and moving drama forcefully regulates the pacing; breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes...

In a riveting novel from Myers (At Her Majesty’s Request, 1999, etc.), a teenager who dreams of being a filmmaker writes the story of his trial for felony murder in the form of a movie script, with journal entries after each day’s action.

Steve is accused of being an accomplice in the robbery and murder of a drug store owner. As he goes through his trial, returning each night to a prison where most nights he can hear other inmates being beaten and raped, he reviews the events leading to this point in his life. Although Steve is eventually acquitted, Myers leaves it up to readers to decide for themselves on his protagonist’s guilt or innocence.

The format of this taut and moving drama forcefully regulates the pacing; breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes written entirely in dialogue alternate with thoughtful, introspective journal entries that offer a sense of Steve’s terror and confusion, and that deftly demonstrate Myers’s point: the road from innocence to trouble is comprised of small, almost invisible steps, each involving an experience in which a “positive moral decision” was not made. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-028077-8

Page Count: 280

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999



Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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