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CALLING HOME by Michael Cadnum


by Michael Cadnum

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-670-83566-8
Publisher: Viking

 A disturbing story about a teen-ager who makes a mistake and pays for it with his sanity. Peter's schoolwork and self-respect have declined as his alcohol dependency has grown. When best friend Mead drops a bottle they're sharing, Peter lashes out--and kills him. Subsequently, Peter denies knowledge of Mead's whereabouts but makes reassuring phone calls to Mead's parents in a disguised voice, barely managing to hide his frantic self-loathing and his belief that Mead's dead personality is taking him over. Except for Peter's lively, talented friend Lani, the characters here are hard to like: Peter's divorced parents manipulate him mercilessly; reckless friend Angela does her best to keep him drunk and sexually frustrated. The novel ends with a string of isolated, often barely relevant, episodes while Peter confesses, spends time in therapy, returns home believing himself cured of his guilt--and then wakes up one night feeling Mead within him once again. Cadnum grants Peter a spark of hope at the end; readers will still feel weighed down by the heavy atmosphere and events. (Fiction. YA)