ONE OF THE BOYS by Scott Johnson


Age Range: 13 & up
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 In a well-knit but predictable first novel, Eric (15) is snared by a manipulative classmate and struggles to break free. Four months after transferring to Emerson High, Marty Benbow has gathered a band of sycophants, eager to follow his lead in verbally harassing some hapless victim or playing an escalating series of pranks. Though Eric finds being with the ``Benbow Boys'' less and less entertaining, Marty plays him like a fish on a line, at last persuading him to help steal a load of musical instruments from the band room. Fortunately, Johnson doesn't drag in a plethora of topical issues; there's no violence, substance abuse, or (beyond Marty's clear contempt for everyone) psychological disorder, though Eric does meet a homeless man (portrayed as a victim of his own choices). In traditional YA-lit fashion, all teachers are hateful or laughable and parents have no idea what's going on. In the end, Eric's job, plus new girlfriend, pumps up his self-esteem; he turns himself in (and receives minor punishment) after Marty is caught by police. Not much danger here, but a fair amount of dramatic tension and soul-searching. (Fiction. 13+)

Pub Date: April 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0-689-31520-1
Page count: 246pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1992