BLACKWATER by Eve Bunting


Age Range: 10 - 12
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In an unusually weak story from the prolific Bunting, a teenager wavers between staying silent and confessing his responsibility for a half-serious prank that results in two deaths. Offended at finding a girl on whom he had pinned some summer dreams making out with another boy, Brodie sneaks up to startle them, then watches in horror as they fall into the river and are swept away. His desperate effort to save them makes him an instant local celebrity. Injured, half drowned himself and sedated by the doctor, he has no chance to set the record straight at first, and as time goes by, the prospect of telling the truth becomes harder to contemplate. In the meantime, Alex, a visiting cousin who knows the truth, trumpets Brodie’s heroism for reasons of his own, while there is evidence of a mysterious witness to the tragedy. With the support of a loyal friend and loving parents, Brodie finds the strength to come clean, but since he has been presented as a stable, right-thinking character, his decision is never really in doubt. While Bunting hints at the price Brodie will have to pay for holding back, the story ends before the boom actually falls. Ingrid Tomey makes the horns of a similar dilemma much sharper in Nobody Else Has To Know (p. 890), while Marion Dane Bauer, of course, charted a more subtle route in On My Honor (1986). (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1999
ISBN: 0-06-027838-2
Page count: 143pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1999


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