THE FEAR PLACE by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


Age Range: 8 - 12
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Doug Grillo is spending three weeks camping in Colorado with his geologist parents and his older brother, Gordon. He and Gordon constantly bait each other and often get into fistfights. Gordon is particularly mean about Doug's "fear place," a narrow ridge above a canyon where Doug once became paralyzed with fear and now refuses to go. When news comes that Doug's Uncle Lloyd has died, Doug's parents go to Boston for the funeral, leaving Doug and Gordon alone in the woods until they return Friday morning. Naturally, Doug and Gordon fight immediately after their parents leave: Doug accuses Gordon -- unfairly, he later realizes -- of shirking his share of the campground duties. Gordon then ignores his mother's instructions to stay with his brother and goes off to camp by himself. While Gordon is away, Doug gets along fine. He is an expert camper and knows what he needs to do. Doug fully expects Gordon to return before his parents do, but by Friday noon, neither Gordon nor his parents have returned. Doug also realizes that Gordon must have run out of food and water by then. To get to Gordon, Doug must climb past his fear place. Doug finds Gordon with a broken leg, and he must make the perilous return trip with his brother on his back. A heart-stopping and complex story of fear, sibling rivalry, and love from veteran Naylor (Alice In-Between, p. 483, etc.; Boys Against Girls, see above). (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-689-31866-9
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1994


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