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Black Rabbit Summer Hardcover – July 1, 2008

11 customer reviews

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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
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

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: 1.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,471,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 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 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donald Smith on July 11, 2008
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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