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THE FALCON by Jackie French Koller

THE FALCON

By Jackie French Koller

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-689-81294-9
Publisher: Atheneum

Koller follows up A Place To Call Home (1995) with this raw, funny-if-it- weren’t-so-painful journal of a disabled teenager given to self-destructive behavior. Luke—big, good-natured, sensitive, popular, captain of the wrestling team—is nonetheless tortured by something he won’t put down in writing. His life has become a chain of disasters: He accidentally chops off his dog’s tail; he secretly borrows the family car to crash a party, and his best friend Hutch chucks all over it; at 17 he already has a long record of collisions and speeding tickets, even though he considers himself a careful driver. Koller gives alert readers enough clues that it isn’t a complete surprise when he finally works his way around to admitting that his left eye is artificial. That’s plainly not the reason for his self-loathing, though. Caught in a severe downward internal spiral, convinced of his worthlessness, he breaks up with his girlfriend, punctures his good eye, begins to see a pediatric psychologist in the hospital while his eye heals, and finds himself rooming with a former schoolmate who attempted suicide rather than tell his parents that he’s gay. Unsurprisingly, Luke’s perspective improves. While he often sounds whiny, Luke is an appealing character, and readers will keep turning the pages, waiting for Koller to drop in the next piece of the puzzle that lies at the heart of Luke’s anguish. A memorable case study in teenage guilt. (Fiction. 12-14)