THE GRAVE by James Heneghan


Age Range: 12 - 14
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When Tom Mullen was one, his mother abandoned him in a toy store in Liverpool, England. Now 13 and three quarters, his life consists of moving from one fozzy (foster home) to another while trying to take care of the developmentally disabled Brian, who has been like a brother to him. The excavation of a new school and rumors of its secret beneath the earth interrupt this monotony. Tom is drawn to the spot and discovers a gravesite that transports him to Ireland in 1847, and into the Irish Potato Famine. The boy happens upon a drowning victim and saves the life of Tully Monaghan, the spitting image of himself. Tom is taken in by the Monaghan family, which also comprises Hannah, with whom Tom find himself smitten, and Brendan, who eerily resembles Brian. In this superbly crafted time-split novel, Tom is compelled—although he does not know why at first—to help the Monaghans escape their hunger and suffering. He makes use of his present-day skills to survive the past. Throughout the fast-paced story, coincidences between the past and present accumulate until they form a bridge that leads Tom to his real identity and helps him understand what “family” means. Loosely based on the discovery of a mass grave in Liverpool, the characters and situations here ring true. A riveting adventure. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 2000
ISBN: 0-374-32765-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2000


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