CLAWS by Will Weaver


Age Range: 14 & up
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A Minnesota teen who thinks he leads the perfect life finds out that he doesn’t. All is golden for Jed: he’s number one on the tennis team; his father lets him drive his muscle Camaro; he’s got the prettiest girl in school adorning the passenger seat; his parents are rich, beautiful, and successful. All is golden, that is, until a mysterious girl demands a meeting one day to tell him that his father is having an affair with her mother—and suddenly all of Jed’s assumptions fly out the window. As he pursues the truth of the matter, his life begins to unravel, and he learns that he is just as subject to human misery as anyone else. Weaver (Memory Boy, 2001, etc.) succeeds beautifully in limning the raw emotions of a family under stress and in creating a brutally honest voice for his protagonist. When Jed comes home from school the day after his father moves out, his mother “suddenly began to weep. I crossed the foyer and held her. It was the least I could do. But it pissed me off, and she felt frail and sharp boned and lost, and something in my heart turned cold.” Weaver is less successful at developing the relationship between Jed and Laura, the girl who tells him of the affair. Their e-relationship is convincing, as is their growing attachment to each other, but the focus on emotion is wrenched off-course when Laura’s troubled little sister tries to paddle away to Canada and she and Jed pursue her through the Boundary Waters in a canoe. This diversion into outdoor adventure does another U-turn when their rescue ends in tragedy, and Jed ends up living in his bedroom, obsessed with a computer game in which he designs a family of total losers. Didactically appropriate, this apocalyptic ending nevertheless betrays the emotional honesty of the first half of the story. Worthwhile, but a pity about the trifurcated personality. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-009473-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2003


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