IN THE SPACE LEFT BEHIND by Joan Ackermann

IN THE SPACE LEFT BEHIND

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bewildering life changes erupt at the tilt of an IHOP syrup bottle, or so the story begins in playwright Ackermann’s punchy first YA endeavor. Fifteen-year-old Colm is a walking paradox: He’s good-looking, a handyman, astute at business and dedicated to home and hearth. At the same time, he’s a homebody, stuck in a rut, with little or no contact with the world outside his family. When his simpleton mom embarks on her second or third or fourth honeymoon and threatens to sell the family homestead, Colm decides to buy it himself. Funds for the purchase arrive in the guise of Lloyd Henry, his ne’er-do-well deadbeat biological dad, whose friend has taken a warrant of some sort out on his life for 70-grand. Colm’s plan: to drive his dad—without a license—from Massachusetts to California, collect the cash and buy the house. Along the journey, readers meet an outlandish, kooky cast of characters, including a sister with serious anger-management issues and a grapefruit-obsessed escaped convict. Amid it all, Ackermann’s cinematic, bluntly off-kilter dialogue keeps readers guessing and the pages turning. Less sophisticated than John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines (2006), but similar in theme, Colm’s internal and physical search for self, family, friendship and home—not to mention his dad’s clipped, endearing way of showing affection—is exactly the bizarre father-son story you’ll wish Hollywood would make. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-072255-5
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Laura Geringer/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2007