THE YEAR WITHOUT MICHAEL by Susan Beth Pfeffer

THE YEAR WITHOUT MICHAEL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

On Sunday, Michael Chapman, 13, tells his older sister Jody that he's off to play softball at a friend's house, and that he won't be late. It's the last time he is seen. What follows is the Chapmans' first year without Michael--their search for him, and Jody's desperate attempts to hold her family and herself together as the inevitable problems arise: friends rally round, then drop out of sight; there's tension between Jody's parents; Kay, Jody's bitter younger sister, wants to live with their grandparents; and all must wait and wonder. Pfeffer's presentation of an all-too-common problem is honest, accurate, and heartbreaking. Michael is old enough to be considered a likely candidate for a runaway; he's also ""pretty,"" making him a likely victim of a sex crime. What did happen? The question is explored endlessly, but when he doesn't return after a year, the Chapmans must reconcile themselves to the fact that they may never know. Though Jody is at times too insightful for a 16-year-old, and Mrs. Chapman verges on the unbelievable, the reader will overlook these flaws in this realistic novel about a likable family in a frightening situation. A page-turner.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1987
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Bantam