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GREEN BOY by Susan Cooper

GREEN BOY

By Susan Cooper

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-84751-3
Publisher: McElderry

An environmental message overwhelms the plot in this disappointing time-travel story. Twelve-year-old narrator Trey lives in the Bahamas with his grandparents and seven-year-old brother Lou, who has undiagnosed seizures and never talks. When the brothers’ favorite island spot, Long Pond Cay, is slated to become a major resort, their grandfather protests with no success against the developers, who retaliate by secretly destroying his boats. Intensifying the evil of the developers’ side of the issue, Trey’s negligent father appears as a worker for the developer and threatens to take Trey from his grandparents. In the midst of these disputes, Trey and Lou are mysteriously transported to a city in the future, an environmental horror with no stars, fresh air, or open land. During several trips through time, Lou plays a key part in the future world’s survival, in a strange meeting with Gaia, Mother Earth herself, and an even stranger scene in which Lou takes on a mythological role. While Cooper (King of Shadows, 1999, etc.) writes movingly about the beauty of the Bahamas and earnestly about her concerns for the future, she misses the mark here as a storyteller. The present and future worlds aren’t meaningfully connected nor do the Celtic mythological references fit the surroundings. The issue of the resort is all too easily resolved; the narrator veers into an adult voice in places; and Lou comes across not as a credible seven-year-old but as a literary device. (Fiction. 9-12)