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GHOST BOY by Iain Lawrence Kirkus Star


by Iain Lawrence

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-385-32739-0
Publisher: Delacorte

Fourteen-year-old Harold Kline is an albino and thus an outcast in his small-minded community. Everyone in the town ridicules him, including his own stepfather. His father was killed in WWII; his older brother is missing in action. When a small traveling circus comes to town, Harold runs away from his unhappy life to join it. There, he meets an amazing cast of characters who offer him love and belonging: an Indian; a tiny Princess; the enormous Fossil Man; a gypsy, who has survived the Holocaust; and another albino. Among this unlikely group, Harold begins to find the friendship he has been longing for. He learns to work with the elephants and takes pride in his new skill. When he does return home, he is able to see his grieving mother and harsh stepfather in a new light and accept that his brother is truly gone. Lawrence has worked his magic with what could have been a commonplace story; his prose is near poetry, his characterizations, as usual, fascinating and unique. But, it is the ache of Harold’s longing to be a part of something and the gift that these odd circus people offer that sets this coming-of-age road story apart from the average YA novel. In his earlier work (The Smugglers, 1999; The Wreckers, 1998), Lawrence’s characters were colorful and well-defined; now they stand for looking beyond their picturesque or off-beat qualities and into the depths of their real beauty. Memorable in every way. (Fiction. YA)