VANDAL by Michael Simmons
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 14 & up
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Will has grown up with the shadow of his older brother’s violence always looming. Jason has been in and out of trouble for years, always repentant but never able or willing to reform. Will copes by loving his little sister and cultivating his skill with the guitar, a practice that has led to his job as lead guitarist for a remarkably successful KISS tribute band. The September after Jason gets out of juvie, an excess of brotherly feeling prompts Will to offer Jason a job as roadie, an offer he immediately regrets and which inevitably leads to a disaster that both Will and the reader see coming. The enjoyment of this tale is in its telling, and Will’s wry, self-deprecating voice and the snort-inducing details of his career with KISS FOREVER draw the reader in effortlessly. Running throughout are Will’s musings on Jason and his family, his efforts to understand his affection for the brother who has caused only trouble and pain candidly presented. Simmons resists easy narrative outs, presenting both Will and readers with the full emotional complexity of a difficult relationship in fine, understated fashion. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-59643-070-2
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2006


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