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Canyons Paperback – August 9, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A psychic link is forged between a 19th-century Apache boy and Brennan, a 15-year-old on a camping trip who undertakes a grueling journey. "Terse language keeps the story moving at a brisk pace," PW commented. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Cornered in a canyon during his first coming-of-age horse raid, a young Apache brave, Coyote Runs, is shot execution-style by soldiers from Fort Bliss. One hundred years later, Brennan Cole discovers a skull with a hole through its forehead in a canyon where he's been camping and becomes obsessed by the need to find out the who, what, and why of the skull. With the help of a pathologist, his high-school biology teacher, and someone from the Western Historical Archives in Denver, Brennan pieces the story together. The bond between the two boys, a century apart in time but so close in age and spirit, grows stronger as Brennan now searches for the final answer: why is Coyote Runs' spirit so restless, and what does it want of him? Brennan's realization that only when Coyote Runs' haunting and haunted soul is at peace will his own disturbed self find peace climaxes in his own coming-of-age challenge. Paulsen involves readers so deeply in the lives of both characters, telling the story in alternating chapters marked by the cadence and language distinctive to each boy and his time and place, that the whole becomes a compelling and dramatic experience that is powerful stuff. Although this is, at times, overwritten and affected--almost a parody of Hemingway--it will be new and unforgettable to today's readers. --Marjorie Lewis, Scarsdale Junior High School, NY
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ember (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385742347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385742344
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers. He has written more than one hundred book for adults and young readers, and is the author of three Newberry Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#55 in Books > Teens
#55 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Review by Karina
Coyote Runs is an Apache Boy who has just become a man, but soon after, soldiers attack his group. Coyote Runs is `executed' with a bullet to his skull. About one hundred years later Brennan is camping near Dog Canyon and finds a skull pierced by a bullet in the forehead. Brennan is mentally taken over by the skull and soon he realizes that he must take it back to its sacred resting place in Dog Canyon. Canyons is about how Brennan must use everyday skills to solve a big mystery.
One thing that sets this book aside from most of Paulsen's books is that the conflict is somewhat internal between Brennan and what the skull is telling him to do... and who to be. That's one of the concepts that I really enjoy about this book. The suspense is supreme in Canyons because even in the beginning Paulsen doesn't introduce the characters through everyday events, but through action. When Brennan is running I can feel as though I'm right with him because of the excruciating detail! However, the difficulty was low mostly because of the elementary vocabulary. The climax is well organized, but I dislike how it ends in a drop off. There is a resolution, however no note to how Brennan's life continues.
If you really enjoy a book that you can't put down because of suspense and mystery then Canyons will be a great read for you! Plus it's one of the great books where the main character is intelligent and uses everyday problem solving skills, not super powers!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Hunter Harper on November 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The novel, Canyons by Gary Paulsen is one of the best novels I've ever read. The beginning is rather strange because the author switches between two story lines and two characters in each chapter. One chapter will be about an American boy, Brennan Cole, then the next one tells about an Apache boy, Coyote Runs. Until the reader realizes this, it is a little confusing because Brennan is living in the present and Coyote Runs lived in the past. This writing style made me wonder what the two could possibly have in common. Not too far into the book, though, the story becomes very clear. As the book begins, Coyote Runs is searching for his manhood. He is anxious to take part in his first raid, hoping that the success will make him worthy of being considered a man and not a boy anymore. The raid starts out very well but in later chapters it turns sour and Coyote Runs is killed. The murder occurs in a savage way near Dog Canyon. As the life of Brennan Cole is introduced into the book, the reader eventually sees how the two lives are joined. Brennan takes a camping trip to Dog Canyon with his mother, her boyfriend, Bill, and some youth from Bill's church. While trying to get some relief from the other campers, Brennan goes to sleep in a secluded place away from them. When he wakes up, Brennan realizes he is lying on top of a skull, which he secretly takes home with him. It is during this night that the excitement and eerie feelings begin. The rest of the book leaves the reader in complete suspense as Brennan searches for answers to his many questions concerning the skull and his obsession with it. The way the author, Gary Paulsen tells the story, it makes the idea of the "Indian spirit" very believable. The words he uses and the way he repeats them, made me feel like I was running with the skull myself, just like Brennan Cole. The novel, Canyons is a very exciting, mysterious adventure that I would recommend to any reader.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Canyons is a great adventure story. The main characters are Brennan, Mr. Homesly and Brennan's mother. In this book Brennan stumbled over a skull with a bullet hole in it. After this, he had trouble sleeping. He had strange dreams, and he heard whispers. He finally realized that he had a quest from an Apache boy who was executed by soldiers for no reason. His quest was to return the skull to the medicine place. Could he do it? Once Brennan had a vision about Coyote Runs, the Apache boy. In his vision Brennan saw soldiers coming after him like they did to Coyote Runs. This reminds me of the time I was playing guns. I was climbing on the rough rocks of Devil's Den at Gettysburg, playing with my brother. I could see myself slipping, fearing that I might fall just like Brennan did when he climbed the cliffs with the rescue team behind him.
When Brennan went camping, he was having a lot of fun. Then when he found the skull, he was scared. This reminds me of the time when I went camping in Canyonlands in Utah. It was a lot of fun at first, but then I got worried that the creek next to our tents was going to flood. That night in our sleeping bags, we heard the water come closer and closer. I was so scared I almost jumped out of my shorts! I felt just like Brennan did when he found the skull. When Brennan was doing research with Mr. Homesly, he was trying to find out more facts about Coyote Runs. He wanted to know who this boy was. When I was studying about the Civil War, I did alot of hard work looking into the past and trying to understand what happened. I was staying up late just like Brennan did looking at every detail. Canyons is a great book for kids. It's loaded with action, suspense and alot of adventure. I recommend it to every boy in our class
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 21, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is thrilling....but, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under 9;too much violence. A psychic link between two 15 year old boys; one, almost a man, one a school kid struggling through adolescence. A young indian boy's spirit guides the kid to the place of spirits to release his restless soul.
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