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Black Rabbit Summer Hardcover – July 1, 2008

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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: #2,356,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. J. K. on September 3, 2009
Format: Library Binding
The author was successful in capturing my attention in the early pages of the book. However, he did not develop the characters fully and left the reader hanging with very many questions.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Black Rabbit Summer is a dark and gritty young adult read. Pete Boland decides to reconnect with some old friends at the local carnival and things turn bad quickly. When two of Pete's friends turn up missing after the carnival no one is above suspicion. The author details how the friendships start to unravel and how everyone has something to hide. I thought the book was well written but I would have liked more insight into each of the characters. Pete's character was well developed but we weren't given as much insight into some of the other secondary characters and what made them tick. I was particularly interested in Stella's background because she seemed like a sociopath. It seemed like she resented the fact that her parents chose to offer her a more simple life and not expose her to the darker side of fame. The ending wasn't neat and tidy but I was fine with that because real life typically doesn't have those types of resolutions. I enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading other books by this author
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By CryWolf854 on September 25, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's the summer after graduation and for five former friends it's a summer that will drastically changed everything. By the end, each person will be involved in the murder investigation of a former classmate, one will vanish, and another will die.

I picked this book up on a whim and I have to say I'm glad I did. I had no idea who Kevin Brooks was and the England setting kinda put me off at first but thankfully the author didn't rely on a lot of British slang so the only time I was reminded where I was was when Pete referred to his Mom as "Mum" or to the former clubhouse as "the Den".

I was surprised by the level of darkness this YA novel contained. These kids are seriously screwed up. I mean several of the characters (Wes, Pauly, and Raymond) would probably fit right in with the Columbine duo. The author's description of the den is a perfect metaphor for the crumbling ties between the kids as how, in the beginning, the place was large and profoundly sound. Now it's dilapidated and very crowded. There's several elements involving the supernatural specifically in Pete and his friend Raymond; Raymond feels as if he can hear his pet rabbits talking to him while Pete can somehow feel the presence of the people he's close to. While all of it could just be two young men with deeply troubled psyches, Mr. Brooks does keep this fairly ambiguous and this decision, I think, is a wise choice.

Now, the book is not without it's flaws. Pete, like most 18 year olds (he may be younger but I'm pretty sure most high school graduates are about 18 so we'll go with this) is very hard headed and stubborn. He repeatedly puts himself in very dangerous situations especially involving Wes who seems to have a knack with waving a box cutter around.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's a rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood, leaving old friends behind for a future beckoning with invitations of bigger and better things to come. There is a reason we outgrow friendships. Sometimes things are better left behind.

Peter wasn't even thinking when he got the phone call; after all, it was summer. If he would have been, he'd have stuck with Raymond and let the others go on without them without looking back. As it was, nostalgia got the better of him, and he agreed to meet one last time in the den, their former home-away-from-home, but only if Raymond could come, too. Besides, he and Nicole had more than just a past, didn't they?

Five former friends, some booze, and a combination of drugs (some by choice, some not), add up to one night of confusion, chaos, and death. What follows in classic Brooks fashion is a mystery that continues to weave into itself more intricately rather than toward a resolution. Oh yes, certain issues are resolved involving who murdered whom along the way, but it's hard to say when we find those details out that it even matters. Who we end up caring most about is not the rich, fake, do-anything-to-be-famous Stella, but the odd, loner Raymond who talks to his black rabbit. Oh yeah, and it talks back to him.

Brooks is extraordinary at pulling us into his characters, leading us ever so slowly to answers, and then leaving much, though not all, left unsaid. If you are looking for a perfect ending, he's probably not your man. If you are looking to be challenged as a reader and not spoon-fed all the answers? Here's yet another of his works where you won't walk away being disappointed.

Reviewed by: Angie Fisher
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