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COLD TOM by Sally Prue


by Sally Prue

Age Range: 10 - 15

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-439-48268-2
Publisher: Scholastic

Prue debuts with a bleakly lyrical elfin bildungsroman. Supernaturally quick and sensitive, Tom is still too slow, dull, and ugly to fit in with the Tribe, who dispassionately condemns him to death. But he flees to the city of the human “demons,” calling on the Stars to hide him from their heat, their heaviness, and above all from their foully perverse bonds of affection. When his refuge is discovered by the human Anna, Tom is horrified that her grossness does not save him from being ensnared by emotional ties—nor from her attempts to save his life. Prue effectively contrasts the fierce beauty and ferocious integrity of the Tribe with the contradictory warmth and pain of human relationships. He’s an acute observer, and both the angry tension and hesitant tenderness in Anna’s fractured family is subtly and poignantly portrayed through his hostile eyes. Prue’s deceptively simple voice maintains a tight grip on this perspective, only slipping in one overly explanatory section from Anna’s viewpoint. Tom’s struggle to remain true to himself should resonate powerfully with other alienated adolescents. (Fantasy. 10-15)