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Deadline Paperback – April 21, 2009
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100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
Amazon's editors chose their list of the one hundred young adult books to read, whether you're fourteen or forty...Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
If the cover of the book doesn't get you hooked--a sky so vividly blue it makes your heart ache and type placement that makes you wonder if you holding the book upside-down--the story will turn your life upside-down. And that's no joke.
Ben Wolf knows exactly what he wants from life. He wants to join the football team despite his miniscule size. He wants to teach his civics teacher a lesson in acceptance. He wants to clean up the town drunk, get the girl of his dreams to see past his size, heal his mother's manic depression, all in the year he has left after being diagnosed with a terminal, aggressive blood disease. And he wants to keep it all to himself.
What Ben doesn't know is what he wants for himself. He has spent eighteen years holding everyone around him together, so now he doesn't know how to hold himself together.
This is a beautifully written story with full characters and imagery that will transport you to the tiny town of Trout, Idaho. I know it sounds sappy, but it really did touch my heart. Chris Crutcher is a master at bringing humanity to the written word.
As I was reading, however, the premise was the thinnest, least believeable part of the book. Compared to Chris Crutcher's real strength-- making you care about the characters and their relationships as they deal with pain and the horrible things that happen in life-- it seemed a touch gimmicky, getting in the way of the real, gritty stuff that was happening.
The main character's medical problems as illness caught up with him, the reactions of the people around him-- they just weren't quite real, they were glossed over a little.
That said, there were other things in this book that made me go, yeah, that's exactly how it is. Some of them were things you don't see in a lot of books.
I loved how Crutcher showed that situation where you're keeping a secret, and maybe you think it's too soon to tell someone, and then the relationship progresses and suddenly it feels too LATE to tell them and it's a big mess. That was pitch-perfect.
I loved how the main character felt like a real teenager in his not-quite-realistic thinking about death, a little romanticized and theoretical and yet not afraid to tackle the big questions like religion and meaning head-on. The way he attached near-ultimate importance to a football game was a perfect match for how he took the idea of death in stride. The way his anti-racism town project was a little off-kilter and doomed to failure, but still so much more right than the attitudes he was fighting against. Everything had the out-of-scale intense emotion of being a teenager.Read more ›
The wrinkle here is a death foretold. Right out of the gate in the opening pages, young Ben hears from his doctor that he has a terminal disease with one year to live. He decides a) not to take treatment for it so he can live his remaining days without radiation and chemo-related sicknesses, and b) not to tell anyone, family included. Crutcher makes him 18 -- older than your average YA hero -- so he can pull this off with the story remaining believable.
OK, so you have a year to live. What to do? If you're a short, wirey runner like Ben Wolf, you ditch track to go out for football and train like no tomorrow. And you try to win the heart of one of the school's toughest beauties, volleyball star Dallas Suzuki. You also treat yourself to dreams where you meet and have deep talks with a guy named "Hey-soos" (yes, a Spanish-sounding rendition of a guy we know from a Testament we know).
Add to the mix football action scenes, an alchoholic ex-priest with a secret, a teenaged mother with a secret, and a running, nothing-to-lose battle of wits with a pig-headed history teacher, and you get the type of book Crutcher fans look forward to. Oddly, some teenaged readers, when offered Crutcher fare, tend to find it too cerebral or "dated" in a sense.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Alway do your research on what you want. I ordered this book for my best friend as a replacement for one she lost. It was in good condition and she still loves it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A. J. C.
This is Angel's daughter.
My English teacher assigned this as an assignment and I was thinking, "oh, must be boring." I was dead wrong. This is great. Read more
What would you do if you were told that this is the last year of your life? Ben Wolf was faced with an impossible situation, so he decided to spend his last days living on his own... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lupine Smile
Only half way through and I absolutely love it! I highly recommend it. If your read, The Faults in Our Stars, you will love this book!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Ben Wolf, after being diagnosed with a terminal disease decides he is going to spend the rest of his senior year making his mark on the work and shooting for everything he ever... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nathan Askins
This book was purchased for my son, whose English class at school assigned it as a sophomore summer reading project. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Joshua Katzman