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THE PIPER'S SON by Melina Marchetta Kirkus Star

THE PIPER'S SON

By Melina Marchetta

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-47582
Publisher: Candlewick

Five years after the events of Saving Francesca (2004), Tom Mackee needs saving from himself. Drugs and sex have become his refuge from the pain of his Uncle Joe's death on a bus bombed by a terrorist. This companion novel details Tom's return from his private hell. The main plots depict Francesca's prescription for bringing Tom back into their circle of friends as well as Tom's attempts to mend his romance with "Psycho Tara," which fell apart when he dropped Tara (after what she called their "one-and-a-half night stand"). Superior fiction requires excellent characterization, and Marchetta delivers. The Mackee/Finch clan and their friends are full of life, making them memorable sources of humor and compassion.  The setting—a working-class neighborhood of Sydney, Australia—expands readers' understanding of the characters that it shaped. The third-person narration provides a rounded picture of all the characters (adults and children, family, friends and lovers), while e-mails and text messages show Tom's grief and bewilderment. Give this to the author's fans, lovers of breakup books (Tom and Tara's split is a doozie) and teens who enjoy books about places other than where they are. (Fiction. 14 & up)