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Blank Confession Hardcover – November 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (November 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416913270
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416913276
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–This simple, engaging story opens with Shayne Blank sitting in a police station, about to give a murder confession. Hautman effectively employs flashback sequences and alternating narratives to enlighten readers as to the sequence of events that led to Shayne's dramatic revelation. When high school junior Mikey Martin finds himself the target of a sadistic bully, he gains an unlikely ally in the quiet and mysterious new kid, Shayne. Quirky, with a tendency to let his mouth get him in trouble, Mikey masks his insecurities by wearing suits to school and exuding false bravado. His troubles start when he throws away a bag of drugs forced on him for safekeeping by his sister's drug-dealing boyfriend. Consequently, Mikey is threatened with bodily injury unless he pays Jon $500 (the arbitrary replacement fee for the drugs). Shayne offers to help Mikey sort out his situation; unfortunately, Jon is an intransigent bully who refuses to listen to reason, resulting in several confrontations between him and Shayne that culminate in a violent showdown with shocking consequences. Hautman does a commendable job of handling tough issues such as bullying, domestic violence, and drug abuse, and he infuses tense situations with humor. In spite of a conclusion that feels too neat and somewhat forced, Blank Confession's deft and timely exploration of bullying will find an eager audience among teens searching for gripping, realistic fiction. Steer readers who appreciated Michael Harmon's Brutal (Knopf, 2009) and Courtney Summers's Some Girls Are (St. Martin's, 2010) to this novel.–Lalitha Nataraj, Chula Vista Public Library, CA. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

A 16-year-old kid named Shayne Blank walks into a police station and announces that he has killed someone. Detective Rawls, intrigued by Shayne’s calmness, allows the teen to lead him through the entire story, right up to the murder. These chapters, told from Rawls’ point of view, alternate with the backstory, told by Mikey, a perennially bullied, suit-wearing eleventh-grader who makes a bond with the new kid—Shayne—who Mikey describes as always “measuring, evaluating, computing.” Shayne also has jaw-dropping hand-to-hand combat skills, and soon both kids are unwillingly dragged into the drama of a teenage drug dealer. It’s a classic crime setup, but in Hautman’s hands, character comes first, and Mikey is better fleshed out than most protagonists. Shayne provides a different and unusual challenge: by definition, he is a mystery, something of a blank slate. He is more superhero than anything else, and an epilogue explanation may divide readers into those who appreciate Hautman’s finality and those who would have preferred not knowing the full truth. Grades 8-11. --Daniel Kraus

More About the Author

Okay, here's some miscellaneous personal info. I'll try to be as brief as possible. I was born in 1952 in Berkeley, California, or so I am told (I don't really remember). At age five I moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota where I went to Cedar Manor Elementary School (also the alma mater of Al Franken and the Coen brothers, and no, they are not close personal friends of mine) and eventually graduated honor-free from St. Louis Park High School. This is so tedious. Why do you keep reading? For the next seven years I attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Minnesota. Contrary to recent news reports, I did not graduate from either institution. After college I worked various jobs for which I was ill-suited, including sign painter, graphic artist, marketing executive, pineapple slicer, etc. Eventually, having exhausted other options, I decided to write. My first novel, Drawing Dead, was published in 1993. Today, I live with mystery writer and poet Mary Logue in Golden Valley, Minnesota and Stockholm, Wisconsin. We have two small dogs (are you still reading?) named Rene and Jacques. There you have it. Fifty-plus years compressed into a few short paragraphs. Feel free to copy and paste for your book report, but don't tell anybody I suggested it. Need to know more? Check out the FAQs page on my website at http://www.petehautman.com.

Customer Reviews

How have I longed to read Pete Hautman again.
A. Maurer
Much as I love a solid 250-350 page book (or series!), I always appreciate a well-told short novel.
small review
I suggest getting this book just for your everyday reader, very good!
Wendy Huebner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mikey Martin, 16 hides behind good groooming and chic suits. He buys his suits at the Thriftway and due to his small, slight stature buys suits from Bar Mitzvahs. His sister, Marie, 17 and 10 months his senior hides behind her make up.

The make up of the Martin family is very interesting indeed. The children are 3/4 white and 1/4 black. Their maternal grandfather is West Indian and their mother looks more like him, but lighter in coloring like their grandmother. Marie is very ethnic in appearance, including her hair whereas Mikey describes himself as looking Mexican. He finds it easier to hide behind learning Spanish so he doesn't have to give everybody the rundown on his multi-cultural heritage.

Enter Shayne Blank, new kid in town. He, too hides behind a mask of spun stories and a seemingly innocent demeanor. When school bully Jon Brande comes after Mikey after Mikey disposed of some contraband Jon gave him, all hell breaks loose. Jon insists that Mikey pony up the $500.00 he said his stash was worth. Shayne comes in with some suprises of his own. Once he finds out that Jon is dating Mikey's sister, he comes up with some very resourceful ways to throw Jon off the track. He even manages to win a fight with one of Jon's cronies, a boy some 2 times his size.

Shayne is a mystery. The Martins like him and Marie, always one to look for the "bad boys," thugs and rebels falls for Shayne like a ton of bricks. Shayne even gentles their father, a recovering alcoholic who had a history of verbal and domestic abuse.

Who is Shayne? And why did he confess to a murder? Who is the person he says he killed? And why would he be in a position to kill anyone? Shayne is a walking series of riddles and mysteries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Maurer on January 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
WOW! That is my thoughts on this book. How have I longed to read Pete Hautman again. He is by far without a doubt one of my top 5 favorite YA authors EVER!! No joke. I remember when I read Godless by him a few years back that I thought that was his big moment. His book that capped him off and nothing would be anywhere near as good.

Bank Confession starts with a with the ending in that we know Shayne has killed someone. The question is in all the details. Don't let this deter you from reading this novel. You are not prepared for the end of your seat thriller that is about to unfold. Pete is perfect at keeping you scraping the edge of the page to find out what is next. You will find yourself so engaged in this story I promise you will forget everything around you. Being only a 170+ pages you will want to set aside a few hours so you can read in one setting.

The story is told in alternating viewpoints of the police office Rawls in the interrogation room and Mikey, the kid who Shayne befriends. It does not confuse anything and in many ways makes this story even more engaging as you learn things from both settings.

I went to Pete's website after reading and found some characteristics of Shayne from the story similar to the old western movie.

From his website

A kid, a rabbi, and a seven-foot-tall piano player walk into a bar...wait, that's not right. A kid walks into a police station and says, "Dude, I just killed somebody." And the bartender--I mean the cop--says, "I'm a doctor, not a Ferris wheel operator!"
Dang, wrong narrative. Think of it as Shane set in a modern day high school, with motorcycles instead of horses, tasers instead of revolvers, and a five-foot-nothing Haitian-American overdresser named Mikey in place of Brandon De Wilde.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DAC VINE VOICE on November 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Shayne Blank walks into the police station, confessing to a murder. Detective Rawls listens to Shayne confession and doesn't know what to make of him. The story alternates between Shayne's confession in a precinct interview room to Mikey Martin, his one friend in town. Everyone assumes Mikey is Mexican even though his mother is Haitian and his father is Italian. Three true things about Mikey - he has a smart mouth, is short and loves to wear suits. All of that plays a roll into the new kid confessing to murder. Shayne is as mysterious as his last name. Two true things about Shayne - rides a motorcycle and is not afraid of bullies.

"Who did you kill?" The kid didn't say anything, same as the first time Rawls had asked him that question instead, he reached for the metal ring attached to a hinge bolted to the tabletop and ran his fingers over it. The ring was there so that a potentially violent suspect could be handcuffed to the steel table, which was bolted to the floor. Rawls sat back and looked at his was 5:09. It didn't matter. This time he was going to wait for the kid to speak, no matter how long it took. It took two minutes and thirteen seconds."

This is the first novel, I've read by Hautman, though I've always heard great things, now I know why. Blank Confession is an intense realistic novel with drugs, violence and bullying that's very hard to put down. I loved it. Its very refreshing to read a well crafted YA novel that's only 170 pages at a time when longer is supposedly better.
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