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FAMOUS LAST WORDS by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski


by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Age Range: 13 - 17

Pub Date: July 2nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9367-4
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

An aspiring journalist finds romance and adventure in the newsroom.

Sixteen-year-old Sam D’Angelo has a dull summer internship writing the obituary column for the Herald Tribune, the local newspaper where she lives in northern New Jersey. In spite of the efforts of her friend, party-girl Shelby, to get Sam to take a break from her strictly work-focused routine, Sam remains chained to her desk, a dedicated newspaper writer but a miserable failure in the social sphere. As she puts it, “my own metamorphosis from ugly duckling to swan stalled out in the Cornish-game-hen stage.” Sam turns out to have a significant talent for writing, and she gets a break when a Holocaust survivor chooses her to record his story, which then makes the front page. An even bigger break comes when she decides to do a bit of sleuthing to help a fellow reporter trying to expose the local mayor, whom he suspects of corruption. Together with her boyfriend, fellow intern AJ, Sam is on the case. Something of a love note to print journalism, the story is nevertheless snappy and contemporary, furthered by Sam’s wry, self-deprecating narration and convincingly colloquial dialogue.

Cleverly titled, realistically written, and on the whole engaging and sympathetic, this story rings true. (Fiction. 13-17)