LABYRINTH

Two parallel stories take place side-by-side in this ambitious novel, but neither is fully realized. Gregory lives in modern America, where he is suffering from his father’s suicide a few years earlier. Gregor lives in the Home Country, where he is chosen to be one of the Golden Ten young men sent every ten years to the Mother Country. Each boy dreams about the other and the patterns of their lives become increasingly similar. Gregory gets involved in a burglary scheme in which he crawls through sewer tunnels under the city; Gregor and his companions find themselves about to be sacrificed to the Minotaur, wandering through the labyrinth on their way to likely death. Unfortunately, readers will be frustrated by the unanswered questions and undeveloped themes. Gregory’s mother keeps saying his father killed himself because of mental illness, but that key fact in the boy’s life is left hanging. Incredibly enough, Gregor and his friends don’t notice that none of the previous groups of Golden Ten ever returned home. The narrative voice, which often reflects Gregory’s thoughts, is uneven and sometimes totally off, describing the girl he likes as “a heady mixture of young lady and daredevil,” hardly the thought of a 14-year-old boy. In the end, the two stories come together in the labyrinth, where Gregor apparently escapes and Gregory confronts his internal monster, his anger at his father’s suicide, in a confusing dramatic scene. Part problem novel, part fantasy, this needed more space to expand on its settings and themes, and solidify its interesting structure. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23571-X

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An earnest examination of mental health in sports.

GEESE ARE NEVER SWANS

Sixteen-year-old Gus Bennett lives in the shadow of his older brother, Danny, a former Olympic swimming hopeful who recently died by suicide.

Gus does not have an easy home life: He has a strained relationship with his mother, a single parent who’s still struggling after Danny’s death; and his older sister, Darien, has a drug addiction and abandoned her now 18-month-old child to the care of their mother. But Gus hopes to train with Coach Marks, the renowned trainer who worked with his brother. He even sneaks into the country club to get access to the pool, willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. He has his eye on qualifying for the national team and seems poised for success, but he soon experiences a downward spiral and engages in reckless behavior. Although the side characters are underdeveloped, Gus’ first-person narration carries the story along smoothly. Conceptualized by the late Academy Award–winning basketball player Bryant and written by Clark, this emotional novel contains lyrical prose that beautifully captures the energy of swimming and short chapters that will keep readers engaged. Physical descriptions are limited, suggesting a white default, but naming conventions suggest some diversity among the swim team members.

An earnest examination of mental health in sports. (resources) (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949520-05-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly...

THE GIVER

From the Giver Quartet series , Vol. 1

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility.

As Jonas approaches the "Ceremony of Twelve," he wonders what his adult "Assignment" will be. Father, a "Nurturer," cares for "newchildren"; Mother works in the "Department of Justice"; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named "Receiver," to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories—painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder ("The Giver") now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as "release" is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to "Elsewhere," a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing.

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 978-0-395-64566-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

Did you like this book?

more