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Black Rabbit Summer Hardcover – July 1, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—For Pete, the summer after high school graduation is quiet and a bit lonely since his friends have drifted apart. When "the old gang" decides to meet one last time, Pete, Raymond, Nicole, Eric, and Pauly get together for a night of reminiscing and hanging out at a carnival. But their differences are now too big to overcome and the friendly gathering falls apart after too much drinking, drugs, and sexual tension. They make their way individually to the carnival, where the night ends badly. A former school friend, now a famous celebrity, goes missing, as does Raymond. Could these incidents be related? Could someone Pete thought of as a friend be a criminal? Pete gets drawn into the investigation, which puts his policeman father in a difficult position, and tries to do right by both the authorities and his friends—which are at odds with one another. All of the action happens in less than a week, yet the pace seems slow at times. This may be because of the ultrarealistic dialogue: "What?" "Are you sure?" "Yeah…I guess…." Still, the descriptions of places and events are evocative, the characters realistic, and the suspense gripping. Brooks has created a police procedural as well as a coming-of-age story. The ending leaves a big piece missing from the puzzle and may frustrate some readers.—Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT
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From Booklist

It’s supposed to be a last meet-up before everyone scatters. But everything changes on that Saturday night. Pete, the son of a cop, goes to the old hideout at the request of a former girlfriend. When one of the kids spikes the drinks with a hallucinogenic drug, the evening turns into a nightmare, complete with a missing person, a dead body, and a secret relationship disclosed. Pete tries to solve the mystery of who has done what to whom, but uppermost in his mind is locating kind Raymond, his closest pal, who is not quite right in the head—and has disappeared. The story is long; the plotting, at times, convoluted; and the ending, as in Kissing the Rain (2004), leaves a question that deserved to be answered. But Brooks is a fine writer, and he knows how to keep the tension high. One of the best parts of the book is his depiction of Pete’s parents and their relationship with their son. He captures the essence of how parents want to protect and kids want to break away. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House; First American Edition edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545057523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545057523
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,885,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W. Sprague on September 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I came to discover this book in a truly bizarre way - I won a pre-release proof copy in a gift basket of books at a raffle. I have no idea where it came from. I will also state up-front that I am over 40 years old, and not your typical demographic for this book. While I found this book to be a very easy read, it was also incredibly suspenseful and I enjoyed it tremendously. I read it over the course of a few days rather than my typical "few weeks". The characterizations are very well done; even though there is very little descriptive prose (and TONS of dialog) you get a very good internal image of these young people. I agree with most of what the previous reviewer wrote, with a couple of exceptions: 1) The dialog is a little too realistic - characters say "What?" at least a hundred times in this book, only to have the previous line of dialog re-stated. It feels realistic, and helps drive home some points, but it is overused and becomes agonizingly tedious (unless it was changed after the pre-release copy) and 2) while it is not glamorized, these kids get drunk, smoke dope, take drugs, have sex, lie, commit strong acts of violence, and get themselves in way over their head. The "F" word is used about 100 times. A mature reader might understand the lessons found between the lines, but I'm afraid other, less mature readers, might see all these recognizable characters doing unacceptable things and somehow legitimize their behavior. None of these characters have any redeeming values, other than the friedship and loyalty between two of them, nor should any of them serve as role models. Maybe I'm an overly protective parent, but I strongly disagree with rating of "12 and older" in my advance copy. A 12 year old will have nightmares for a week. Maybe a mature 15 or 16. This is Stephen King type stuff, toned down only a *little* bit.
Despite these warnings, Black Rabbit Summer really was a wonderful surprise, and a very good story. I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could.
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Format: Hardcover
This book involves a bunch of 16 year old kids, mostly boys. And a rabbit. Three actually. Think trinity. No sense in reviewing the storyline. Look above for that. Pete and Raymond are best friends, even though Raymond is a little odd. His black rabbit passes messages to him. And one time Pete thinks he hears a message. He should have listened to the rabbit. But then there would be no book.

The story grabs your interest right away. You can't help but relate to Pete. Unless you were never a teenager. Pete's big problem is that he is constantly hiding the truth from those who need to know. He also has a problem with doing what he is told to do. Everytime he sneaks out and tries to do things his way he just gets himself deeper into trouble. If he had come completely clean from the begining his life would have gone much easier. But then if he had listened to the rabbit there would never have been anything for him to lose sleep over. He and Raymond would still be living in a world where friendship ruled. This book would be recomended for teens to read in hopes that it might impress upon them the need to not try to take things in their own hand when others are far more capable.

Okay, so we have some swearing. Some illusions about sex but no actual events discussed much. Pete fooled around some but never actually did anything with his girl. Gay activity comes up but is never described. If acknowledging that teens are sexual upsets you then don't buy this. Or if drinking and drugs perturb you go read a Hardy Boys book. None of these activities are presented in a positive light. Like in real life they just happen.

So why four stars and not five. I just didn't like the way the author wrapped up the story over the final 80 pages.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me start off by saying this is an awesome book! This book is written like a slice of life - there are many things happening at many levels, and not all of them need to be explained in order to appreciate this novel.

The plot, basically, is that five friends who grew apart are drawn back together one last time before two of them move to France. Their goal is to meet at a carnival close to home, but before they even arrive, things do not go according to plan. Some bring agendas with them, some are forced to do things against their will, and at least one is hearing the call of the rabbit. You'll have to read the book to figure this out. After the carnival, two people go missing and all that happened the day before takes on much more significance.

I loved the unexplained depression the main character Pete feels at the beginning, his unapologetic friendship with the probable schizophrenic, Rabbit whispering Raymond, and how clues to the entire mystery are dropped all along the story so that the ending makes perfect sense. Their is profanity, alcohol abuse, drug use and sexual themes, but this realistic depiction does not endorse this lifestyle any more watching The Dark Knight is going to turn someone into murderous, anarchistic clown. One word of caution, one of the central mysteries of the book is NOT resolved by the end. If this sort of thing drives you crazy, you have been warned!

This author could easily write adult mysteries as easily as teen mysteries. This book is a cut above other authors and well deserves the awards that he has earned.
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