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Damage [Bargain Price] [Hardcover]

A. M. Jenkins
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Written in the second-person, Jenkins's (Breaking Boxes) engaging novel depicts a high school senior and football star who is afraid to let anyone know he's depressed and suicidal. Austin Reid's small town life, which involved drinking beer in the back of his pickup and dating pretty girls, now makes him want to "slide down to the floor, lay [his] head down on the white tile and just quit feeling, totally." These vulnerabilities contrast sharply with the cruel drills of his militant football coach, successfully demonstrating just how intolerant male culture can be of weakness. Readers will know that the 17-year-old's present outlook has something to do with losing his father to cancer when he was a child, but they might be confused as to when the depression actually began. Still, Jenkins handles the heavy subject matter sensitively with memorable scenes such as the one in which his mother shares a bittersweet memory from his childhood, or when he finally opens up to the best friend and neighbor who's shown his loyalty and concern all along. Readers will be riveted by the second-person narrative voice, which effectively conveys the hero's distance from himself and others, and the pacing will keep even reluctant readers glued to the book. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-High school senior Austin Reid is a star of the Parkersville Panthers football team and dates the prettiest girl in the school. Everything would seem to be going great for him; yet, at its core, this novel is about Austin's depression. Jenkins brilliantly reveals it with a subtle, deft touch, dropping small clues to the state of the protagonist's mental health throughout the book. The most striking feature of the novel, however, is that it is told in the second person: "Last year, you scored fifteen touchdowns. After each you were so pumped you almost danced off the ground, raising your arms and yelling with the crowd." This unusual technique succeeds, giving the book energy and immediacy. This bold stylistic choice is helped along by dialogue that perfectly captures present-day teen speech patterns and by a skilled rendering of small-town life and the sometimes-brutal world of high school football. Austin's relationship with his girlfriend, Heather, is also handled with skill and subtlety, although some readers may be startled by the graphic descriptions of their sexual relationship. Appropriately, the book's ending is somewhat ambiguous, with Austin just beginning to understand his fragile mental state. A brave, truthful, stylistically stunning young adult novel.

Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 11-12. Austin Reid is depressed as he enters his senior year of high school. He's glad to start another season of football, likes his few buddies, and even begins an intense relationship with Heather, one of the most unattainable young women on campus. But none of that really helps. He drifts through his days so detached from himself that even during intense sexual passion he doesn't really feel alive. The possibility of suicide intrigues him to the point that it dominates his every thought: having everything--good looks, athletic ability, a beautiful girlfriend, a great mom--simply doesn't seem enough to live for. Jenkins uses an intriguing second-person point of view to depict Austin's detachment, and lets the story drift, echoing Austin's own aimlessness. Graphic, though well-handled scenes of oral sex will likely limit the audience, as will the somber subject matter (including a twisted relationship between Austin and his girlfriend). But it's rare to find such an unflinching, powerful depiction of depression in a YA novel, and Jenkins evokes the lumbering, overwhelming emotional burden with vivid accuracy. Roger Leslie
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A grippingly realistic novel.” (KLIATT (starred review) ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

A. M. Jenkins received a 2000 California Young Readers Medal and a Delacorte Press Prize for Breaking Boxes, a debut young-adult novel praised for its uncanny depiction of adolescent experience.

The author was also featured as a Flying Starts author in Publishers Weekly. Born and raised in Texas, A. M. Jenkins currently lives in Benbrook with three sons, three cats, two gebils, two fish, and a dog.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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