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: THE COMPLETE LIST:

ChildrenFORGE by Laurie Halse Anderson
by Laurie Halse Anderson
ChildrenSUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD by Marc Aronson
by Marc Aronson
ChildrenTHEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
ChildrenTHE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN by Josh Berk
by Josh Berk
ChildrenWHITE CAT by Holly Black
by Holly Black

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:

ChildrenDAYLIGHT SAVING by Edward Hogan
by Edward Hogan
ChildrenSWIM THE FLY by Don Calame
by Don Calame
ChildrenWHAT WE SAW AT NIGHT by Jacquelyn Mitchard
by Jacquelyn Mitchard