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Amaryllis Hardcover – September 15, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-In 1967, the wreck Amaryllis creates perfect waves off Singer Island, FL, for surfers Frank and Jimmy Staples. The Vietnam War, however, looms on the horizon, and 18-year-old Frank enlists in order to escape his abusive father. Over the course of a year, he sends his younger brother letters from overseas. He becomes a heroin addict while recovering from a bullet wound, but Jimmy keeps this horrifying discovery from their parents. Finally, in the fall of 1968, Frank is listed as missing in action. Jimmy, heartbroken, lashes out and blames his father but eventually realizes there are no easy answers in life. Crist-Evans has written an interesting, although somber, account of a troubled family in emotional turmoil. Both teens are believable and likable characters with whom many young adults will identify. Frank's letters are fascinating and disturbing, and his descent into drug addiction is harrowing. However, the author does not fully explore or expand on the symbolism of the ship in his story. Otherwise, this is a crisply written and a worthwhile addition to fiction collections.
Robert Gray, East Central Regional Library, Cambridge, MN
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-12. Jeremy knows that his beloved 18-year-old brother, Frank, joined up to fight in Vietnam only to get away from the war with Dad at home. Now Frank's letters reveal that he doesn't know what he's fighting for, and in his guilt and despair, he is struggling with a heroin addiction. Frank's deepest longing is to be back surfing the waves with Jeremy near their Florida home. The metaphors are too heavily spelled out not only in the battles at home but also in the title (the Amaryllis was a great ship wrecked by a hurricane near the Florida shore), which symbolizes Frank's wrecked life. What succeeds is the family story, especially because Dad isn't demonized. His dark alcoholic rages have driven Frank away, and he knows it; his guilt and sorrow when Frank goes missing are heartbreaking. The narrative is plain and powerful, whether it's about the close bond between the brothers, the horror of the jungle warfare, or the memory of riding the crest of the perfect wave. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (September 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763618632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763618636
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Donna on October 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Amaryllis is a poignant and beautifully written story both teens and their parents will connect with. Though set during the Vietnam War, the struggles facing the main characters continue to ring true today: the oftentimes painful transition from child to adult, the battle to redefine one's self in a world whose boundaries no longer make sense, love and loss, endings and beginnings. The voices are genuine and will continue to speak to you long after you have finished the book. A powerful story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sylvaine Montaudouin on September 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book offers a unique perspective to young readers on the Vietnam conflict and how it affected their parents' generation. I would recommend it not only for baby boomers to remember the emotions of that time, but also to their children to better understand what their parents went through. Very timely book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Caren Cowan on April 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved Amaryllis!!! I also remember the Vietnam era. I felt I could hear Franks voice in his letters to Jimmy. Craig Crist- Evans captured the helpless feeling of Franks questioned existance while fighting his demons.
Hopefully, a POW story will follow!!!!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book not only for young readers, but for their parents. Amaryllis took me back to the world as it was when I was a young reader - the emotions of fear and confusion over a war we didn't understand and the love between two brothers trying to stay connected through it all. Not only is this a very timely story, but it is also a way for today's young readers to understand one of their parents' generation's most emotional periods.
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