Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SURRENDER by Sonya Hartnett Kirkus Star


by Sonya Hartnett

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7636-2768-2
Publisher: Candlewick

A literary psychological thriller, hauntingly told, of a lonely, ostracized boy who “since childhood had been building a wall meant to protect [him] from the worst of the harm.” Anwell, renamed Gabriel, “the messenger, the teller of astonishing truths,” is 20 years old and dying of an unnamed illness. Through flashbacks, and from alternating perspectives, Hartnett’s grim, beautifully written tale of adolescent yearnings gone awry gradually unfolds. Isolated in a home with punitive, repressive parents, trapped in a country town that “has as many eyes as a fly,” where he can never live down a fatal mistake he made when he was seven, Gabriel makes a secret, binding boyhood pact with Finnigan, an unpredictable gypsy-child, in which he surrenders his right to do wrong, and after which unsolved violent incidents occur. The reader is caught by the many layers of mystery, and by the resilient lyricism, the powerful imagery. The clues piece together masterfully, as what was set up as a complex friendship between two boys and their beloved dog evolves into a chilling story of love, guilt, revenge and sorrow. Sophisticated young readers will be awed by the delicate, measured, heartbreaking portrait that emerges. (Fiction. YA)