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A teenager finds his way out from overwhelming grief in this poignant story from Hawes. Franklin takes his funny, beloved classmate Rosey Mishimi’s death in a car crash so hard that six months later he’s still mired in depression, walled off from his mother, therapist, and friends, filling his journal with present-tense memories. Then Rosey reappears, almost her old bubbly self but insubstantial, invisible to everyone else—except, perhaps, her dying Japanese grandmother. Is she a ghost, or just a figment? While he doesn’t entirely rule out the latter, Franklin is eager to have Rosey back on any terms, despite the understandable dismay of those around him. In the end, it doesn’t matter; Rosey fades away, but slowly enough to give Franklin a chance to say goodbye, to understand that she will always be with him, and to accept the fact that he still has a life to live. Hawes keeps Rosey’s exact nature ambiguous without being coy; that, along with the distinct characters and a caring supporting cast, make this a thoughtful variation on the often-explored theme of coping with loss. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8027-8685-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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The format of this taut and moving drama forcefully regulates the pacing; breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes...

In a riveting novel from Myers (At Her Majesty’s Request, 1999, etc.), a teenager who dreams of being a filmmaker writes the story of his trial for felony murder in the form of a movie script, with journal entries after each day’s action.

Steve is accused of being an accomplice in the robbery and murder of a drug store owner. As he goes through his trial, returning each night to a prison where most nights he can hear other inmates being beaten and raped, he reviews the events leading to this point in his life. Although Steve is eventually acquitted, Myers leaves it up to readers to decide for themselves on his protagonist’s guilt or innocence.

The format of this taut and moving drama forcefully regulates the pacing; breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes written entirely in dialogue alternate with thoughtful, introspective journal entries that offer a sense of Steve’s terror and confusion, and that deftly demonstrate Myers’s point: the road from innocence to trouble is comprised of small, almost invisible steps, each involving an experience in which a “positive moral decision” was not made. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-028077-8

Page Count: 280

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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