THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN by Josh Berk
Kirkus Star

THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN

Age Range: 12 - 16

KIRKUS REVIEW

This witty tale of mainstreaming, misfits and murder glitters like the “Future Diamonds” that coal-mine souvenirs promise to someday become. Sixteen-year-old Will lives in Pennsylvania coal country. Correct guesses on a hearing test and a false promise to wear hearing aids allow him to mainstream for the first time. Being fat and deaf is no social boost, and lip reading—easier for Will than for someone deaf since birth, but still sketchy—only goes so far. In a droll present tense, ironic and self-mocking but somehow also centered, Will talks about his ancestor namesake’s appearance in a history book as a ghost, his class’s field trip that turns murderous and his dry acquiescence to sleuthing, à la the Hardy Boys, with eager geek pal Smiley. Dickinson and Poe receive equally keen references (a stolen “Deaf Child” traffic sign beats metaphorically under Will’s bed). Only a clichéd fatness explanation (overeating) and the implausibility of such highly successful lip reading distract; but the funny, clever voice and the small but spot-on thread of deaf politics make this a winner. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-85699-0
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2009




2010 BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS: CONTEMPORARY NOVELS:

ChildrenTHE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN by Josh Berk
by Josh Berk
ChildrenHUSH by Eishes Chayil
by Eishes Chayil
ChildrenTHE 10 P.M. QUESTION by Kate de Goldi
by Kate de Goldi
ChildrenWILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green
by John Green
ChildrenBLANK CONFESSION by Pete Hautman
by Pete Hautman

MORE BY JOSH BERK

ChildrenSAY IT AIN'T SO by Josh Berk
by Josh Berk
ChildrenSTRIKE THREE, YOU'RE DEAD by Josh Berk
by Josh Berk

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenBORN TO ROCK! by Gordon Korman
by Gordon Korman
ChildrenWHAT WE SAW AT NIGHT by Jacquelyn Mitchard
by Jacquelyn Mitchard
ChildrenSWIM THE FLY by Don Calame
by Don Calame