From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-When Craig Gilner is accepted into New York City's elite Executive Pre-Professional High School, he believes his life is starting on the right path. After school begins, Craig finds that his life is spiraling out of control from the pressures, and he begins to contemplate suicide. Rather than actually jump off of the Brooklyn Bridge, Craig checks himself into the local hospital. In the five days he spends in psychiatric care, Craig connects with some of the other patients and learns who his true friends are, how to re-center himself, and that the only expectations he truly needs to meet are his own. With a cast of interesting characters and a very forthright teen perspective, Vizzini has penned a poignant and sometimes humorous tale (Miramax, 2006) about navigating adolescence. Narrator Robert Fass matches Craig's desolate moods and factual nature very well. Due to some upfront discussion of recreational drug use and sexual activities, this title is most suitable for more mature teens.-Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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*Starred Review* Gr. 9-12. When Craig Gilner gets into Manhattan's exclusive Executive Pre-Professional High School, it's the culmination of a year of intense focus and grinding hard work. Now he has to actually attend the school with other equally high-performing students. Oops. And so the unraveling begins, with a depressed Craig spending more time smoking dope and throwing up than studying. Although medication helps his depression, he decides to stop taking it. Soon after, he makes another decision: to commit suicide. A call to a suicide hotline gets him into a psychiatric hospital, where he is finally able to face his demons. Readers must suspend their disbelief big time for this to work. Because the teen psych ward is undergoing renovations, Craig is put in with adults, which provides the narrative with an eccentric cast of characters rather than just similarly screwed-up teens. And in his five days in the hospital, Craig manages to cure his eating disorder, find a girlfriend, realize he wants to be an artist, and solve many of his co-residents' problems, including locating Egyptian music for his roommate, who won't get out of bed. What could he do if he wasn't depressed! But what's terrific about the book is Craig's voice--intimate, real, funny, ironic, and one kids will come closer to hear. Many readers will be familiar with the drugs, the sexual experimentation, the language, and, yes, the depression--or they'll know someone who is. This book offers hope in a package that readers will find enticing, and that's the gift it offers. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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