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Finn's Going Hardcover – April 24, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—After the death of his identical twin brother, 10-year-old Danny runs away because he believes he reminds his distraught parents of the tragedy. The book is divided into three parts: "Thinking," "Doing," and "Being," with each one reflecting a different stage of grief. "Thinking" details Danny's tumultuous feelings as he leaves his house, makes his way to the train station, and travels to an island where the family once vacationed. In "Doing," he becomes consumed with the act of stacking discarded bricks on the beach and befriends a man who suffered a similar loss. Finally, in "Being," the boy stops blaming himself for his brother's death and returns home. The full story of Finn's death is not revealed until the end, but hints dropped along the way pique readers' curiosity. The protagonist's voice is authentically childlike, as seen in the amusing vignettes of his family history, but also descriptive, using frequent metaphors to convey his unique point of view. Despite his running away, Danny's love for his family is tangible, making his full-circle journey and ultimate reunion all the more poignant.—Emily Rodriguez, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* "Danny or Finn?" It's a familiar question at school, around town, and even at home, because Danny and Finn are identical twins. The question takes on metaphorical dimensions in this haunting story, in which the death of one twin leaves the other behind. For the survivor, now 10, the world has become wobbly and unsafe. He runs away from home, trying to remove the painful reminder his face bears for others: "I couldn't stand seeing them forget for a second, then remembering as soon as they saw me over and over and over." He journeys to the island where his family, his whole family, last vacationed together, and there he looks for a way to make sense of his guilt and grief and to come to terms with who he is and who he isn't. Immersing readers in an idiosyncratic point of view through British slang and narrative quirks (such as lists and footnotes),first-time novelist Kelly, an American who lives in England, pens a powerful novel about moving on, about being yourself no matter how hard, from the realistic perspective of a smart, funny kid who is just waking up to the larger world. Though sad, this is an ultimately life-affirming book, full of poignant insights into how people try to protect themselves and each other from tragedy, and how they cope when they fail. Krista Hutley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow; First American Edition First Printing edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061214531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061214530
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,324,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent. It is the best book I have read in a very very long time. The narrator is a 10 year old boy, twin brother to the Finn of the book's title, and struggling with events around his brother's "going" (I won't say more to avoid spoilers). The book plays perfectly on the emotional struggle, offset by a rare and authentic 10 year old humour. The writer understands 10 year old boys, and really makes you believe that this book comes from the mind of a 10 year old. It is so well done, that you suddenly realise how badly all the other books do it.

On top of this it is just an excellent piece of writing. It deserves to be a classic. It deserves to be more widely read, and if it isn't it just shows how so much of what makes a book sell is how well it is marketed. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

This is an easy read, although the book has hidden depths. It can be just an enjoyable story, or it can really make you think - but that is your choice. It works either way. It will rightly take its place amongst my all time favourites.

Some books deserve better recognition. I am very sad this book is not more widely known and read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Finn's Going, by Tom Kelly, is about a 10-year-old English boy whose identical twin brother has died. Danny, fresh off of 6 weeks of self-imposed silence, is unsure how to deal with his feelings, so he decides to run away. He gets on a train and goes to the coast to the site of a past family vacation. Once there, he takes refuge on an island in an old boathouse.

Although Danny packed for his journey, he didn't pack well. As he is laying down in the boathouse during a storm, he sees a man appear, who checks to see if he is alright. Later on, someone leaves food and a note to "come say hello." During Danny's wanderings, he finds the man who had visited him living in a camper near the beach. Danny meets this man, Nulty, and learns about his life and why he ended up in his situation.

Danny continues staying on the island, with the help of supplies from Nulty, who realizes Danny has a purpose of some kind. Danny occupies himself with gathering bricks from around the island (leftover from a destroyed building) and counting and stacking them. Eventually, he feels comfortable confiding at least some of his feelings to Nulty, which leads him to be ready to return home.

The best part of Finn's Going was the character's voice. Most of the story is told using an interior monologue, as Danny spends most of the novel by himself. The character seems like a real 10-year-old, as his logic is not always logical, and he thinks often of bodily functions as many 10-year-old boys do. The book moved slowly, but given the subject matter, the pacing was appropriate. While it may not be appreciated by younger readers, I enjoyed the introspection, and the ending definitely got me thinking.
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