THE LOST DAY by Judith Clarke


Age Range: 12 - 15
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Clarke (Al Capsella and the Watchdogs, 1991) strews this dark comedy with caricatured adults and older Melbourne teenagers clinging to adolescence. After another Saturday night making the club scene, Jasper (who is 19 and a brick salesman by day) stumbles home, losing his mate Vinny somewhere along the way. He assumes Vinny will show up, but he’s wrong; Vinny is not at any of his friends’ homes, doesn’t pick up his car from Jasper, and doesn’t show up for his job at the car wash on Sunday. An anxious hunt begins. Using at least ten points of view, plus a variety of ominous dreams, nameless feelings of dread, and the like, Clarke creates a patchy, faintly suspenseful tale in which the cast’s love lives, private yearnings, and apprehension at the looming prospect of adulthood share the front seat with the central mystery. Yet neither the satire nor the cautionary message are delivered with any particular zing. Readers may have dismissed the entire episode by the time Vinny reappears late Sunday night, groggy but unharmed, having blithely accepted a ride and a spiked drink from a seemingly inoffensive stranger, and woken up on a train with no memory of the past 12 hours. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8050-6152-5
Page count: 152pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1999