SWEAR TO HOWDY by Wendelin Van Draanen

SWEAR TO HOWDY

Age Range: 10 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Triumph and tragedy mix in a compelling country tale of boys being boys. According to Rusty, next-door-neighbor Joey knows “how to have more fun with mud than most folks have with store-bought stuff.” Joey’s judgment isn’t always good however. Sure, planting bugs in their older sisters’ sodas, or a huge frog with notably loose bowels in one’s underwear drawer leads to laughs galore, but skinny-dipping where a hungry crappie can attach itself to his privates or inadvertently shooting his abusive father’s beloved mouser can get downright dangerous without quick action and mighty oaths of secrecy. Then a prank turns deadly, and those promises acquire a terrible weight. Readers expecting a knee-slapper along the lines of Gary Paulsen’s Harris and Me (1993) won’t be disappointed in the early going, but are likely to be thrown for a loop by the tale’s unexpected swerve. Rusty and Joey are both profoundly changed by their shared experiences, and though one’s attempted suicide leads to the other’s confession and a long estrangement, in the end their deep friendship endures. A change of place, but not pace, for the author of the Sammy Keyes dramas. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2003
ISBN: 0-375-82505-3
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2003




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