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I IS SOMEONE ELSE by Patrick Cooper


by Patrick Cooper

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 11th, 2006
ISBN: 0-385-73269-4
Publisher: Delacorte

A boy takes a spontaneous trip across hashish-soaked Europe and Asia in this harsh, vivid chronicle of coping with half-buried trauma. It’s 1966 and 15-year-old Stephen is sent on an exchange from England to France. On the ferry, he meets glamorous hippie strangers who’ve seen his missing older brother Rob in Turkey. Stephen makes a sudden decision to ditch France and go to Istanbul in hopes of finding his brother. The journey stretches through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan before ending in India. Stephen changes companions several times along the way, negotiating betrayal, confusion and the drugs that are everywhere. As he wrestles with memories of having been molested by his favorite teacher, his reasons for finding Rob shift. Literary references (Rimbaud, Hesse, Yeats) and changing cultures color the atmosphere as Stephen descends into a dissociated hallucination of emotional pain. Cooper’s spot-on portrayal of sexual abuse and confrontation is unusually realistic and nuanced. The ray of hope at the end is deeply relieving. Hard and well done. (map) (Fiction. YA)