PULSE by Joe Cardillo


Age Range: 12 - 15
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 A sludgy, overwritten tale of young lovers coming to grief after they protest a proposed mall near their upstate New York town. When Kris and Jason learn of plans to plow down Pinehaven, the closest thing to wilderness near their town, they form a group dubbed Pulse to fight the proposal. Despite the opposition of the school principal--who has political ambitions tied to the development--Pulse attracts many ardent activists and stages a tense but nonviolent demonstration. The planning board nonetheless approves the mall, and Jason and Kris head for the Adirondacks to regroup; Don Lopus, a cartoonish villain, follows them and torches their tent. Kris burns to death before Jason's eyes. These events are related in mawkish prose marked by trite conversations, tedious details, and somewhat purple passages: ``Kris gently blew out her laughter in a long, warm stream that flowed through my sweatshirt like the thin breath of a thousand bees after they'd finished eating honey. My whole body sweetened. . . .'' Heavy foreshadowing leaves the tragic climax unsurprising, and between extraneous characters and sketchy subplots, the book concludes almost before it is underway. Pinehaven is saved by the fortuitous discovery of a burial site; Lopus, Pulse, and the corrupt politicians drop abruptly from the story. Readers with an appreciation for long professions of teenage love may like this, but the superficial treatment of environmental and empowerment issues, plus the unresolved plot elements, won't win many hearts. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-525-45396-2
Page count: 198pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1996