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MOUSETRAPS by Pat Schmatz


by Pat Schmatz & illustrated by Bill Hauser

Age Range: 13 - 15

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8225-8657-9
Publisher: Carolrhoda

Adorable cartoons of mice getting caught in Rube Goldberg–esque mousetraps add a deceptively lighthearted note to Maxie’s high-school tale. Maxie’s first day of her junior year is shaken up when Rick, her old best friend from elementary school, appears in her classroom. Rick hasn't been seen since seventh grade, when he was brutally beaten by middle-school gay bashers. Now that he’s back, Maxie isn’t sure if she wants to renew the old friendship. High school is complicating all of her relationships, and it would be nice to have something simple again, something like her childhood playmate. Funny, though—Rick seems different these days. The bullying and homophobia hasn’t stopped, but his reactions to it have changed. Sometimes he even frightens Maxie. What seems at first like a pat high-school story of friendship and coming-out becomes something very different, challenging assumptions about gender, sexuality and friendship. Rick and Maxie’s thought-provoking story, juxtaposed against Hauser’s renderings of Maxie’s cartoons, is unexpectedly, richly dark, with no easy answers. Both chilling and sweet. (Fiction. 13-15)