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by Rob Thomas

Age Range: 13 - 15

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-689-80957-3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Thomas (Doing Time, 1997, etc.) writes an exposé on Hollywood, stardom, and the broadcasting media in another hip, cutting-edge story of conflicted youth. Good-looking, wannabe journalist Patrick Sheridan’s coming-of-age begins when the high-school senior leaves the small-town, Bible-toting world of Doggett, Texas, to become an ace reporter for a direct-to-the-classroom news show (modeled after the real-life Channel One) in Los Angeles. Packing as much punch and as many plots as Chris Crutcher, Thomas takes Patrick through first love, first sex (with a television star), first experiences with drugs and getting drunk, as well as discovering the mystery behind his adoption (an estranged, also-adopted sister turns out to be his birth mother). These stories are set against the typically superficial backdrop of a slick news show where looks earn Patrick a high profile beneath the ten-gallon hat he’s made to wear. The Texas innocent soon experiences the disintegration of his ideals and beliefs; when Patrick lands in Ireland on assignment, he drops out of sight and wends his way to an ancestor’s hometown of Kilbeg. The final fifth of the book focuses on a more cynical Patrick searching for answers; it’s a little disappointing when he’s shipped back to Texas without enlightenment. Thomas covers a lot of territory, and Patrick’s journeys of the heart are as compelling as his sincere attempts to do the right thing, but readers should be prepared for a raw, ambiguous conclusion. (Fiction. 13-15)