FINN by Katharine Jay Bacon


Age Range: 12 - 14
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A suspense story without much suspense, constructed from disparate elements that never quite mesh. Injured physically and emotionally in the small plane crash that killed the rest of his family, Finn, 15, moves in with his Vermont grandmother; mute and angry, he becomes a project for Julia, a younger friend from past summers who has been training one of the farm’s horses for shows. Nearby, a wood lot not only has become home for a family of coyotes and a wolf-dog named Toq, but also a drop for a local ring of drug dealers. While Finn recalls details of the crash piecemeal and works his way out from under a huge load of guilt, he and Julia become close, the coyotes stage raids on several farms, the teenagers help Toq escape a trap and are later repaid in kind, and one of the dealers becomes a desperate, pitiful cocaine addict who meets a horrible end. After literally riding through fire and storm to rescue Julia from the bottom of a well, Finn experiences a breakthrough, and regains his voice. The author creates some tension by continually shifting the point of view among the human and animal characters, though without a unifying climax; Bacon never brings everyone face to face and their subplots trail away unresolved. Bits and pieces of the narrative, especially those involving horses, other animals, and descriptions of the farm, are well-crafted, holding out a promise of a story telling that is never realized. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-689-82216-2
Page count: 171pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1998