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Kill Switch Hardcover – April 17, 2012
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"A great premise, developed with brilliant prose...characters are sympathetically and vividly evoked, and the brief novel is a model of good writing."--The Horn Book
"A psychological exploration that leaves readers with just as many interesting questions as answers."--School Library Journal
"Lynch’s masterly balance of life-or-death road trip and tender grandfather/grandson relationship makes this an unusual, first-rate thriller."--BCCB
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
By way of YA comparison, I think of Gordon Korman's POP, where Alzheimer's was handled sensitively and the book remained entirely realistic while winning the readers' sympathy for the victim and his family. Here we have the depiction of an aggressive form of dementia. Sure, this happens in some cases of Alzheimer's, and much could have been done with it in the case of its effect on his gentle and caring grandson, Danny Cameron, but something happens on the way to the compassion forum -- Da's gross behavior (which can't be helped) gets trumped by Danny's (which can be). How to explain this behavior? Lynch doesn't. At least not in a satisfying way so readers buy in. He's too busy being economical with the narrative.
The book's start is sluggish and it's ending is slugs. The violence will leave you scratching your head. And, when all's said and done, you'll be glad you're leaving the not-so-gentlemen of this "road book" which has grandson and gramps on the run from the law for greener narratives under other covers. Some may reasonably disagree, but for me this proved a short but difficult slog.
It's the summer before Dan is supposed to start college, and he wants to spend every minute of it he can with his beloved grandfather, who is gradually deteriorating due to Alzheimer's disease. Well, it turns out that grandpa was a spy, and when he starts to receive a bit too much attention from his old co-workers, Dan decides to take him on the run. They enlist the help of his junkie cousin, and go on a trip to nowhere with no object in mind, except to "save Da".
There's a blurb on the front cover of Kill Switch touting this book as a young adult thriller. There's just not anything thrilling here at all. This is just a freaky little road trip story that never went anywhere. The most interesting aspect of the book wasn't developed until the very end, when Dan recalls his Da telling him about how everyone has a "Kill Switch". I won't spoil the ending, but the payoff would have been sweeter if I hadn't had to read through 140 pages of pointless, random plot elements and hard to follow dialogue to get there.
I didn't enjoy Kill Switch, and would be hard pressed to find any young adult who would find much to relate to in this story. I didn't find myself very interested in what was happening until around page eighty or so, and that's quite a long time to wait to feel vested in a story that is only 169 pages long. Parents please note that Kill Switch presents violence and drug use in a way that left a bad taste in my mouth and made me wish that my thirteen year old son hadn't read this book first. He didn't like it either. Not a recommend.
Dan's beloved grandfather, Da, is suffering from "memory loss." His stories have become wildly imaginative - or so Dan believes when Da's former colleague Largs denies their drinking beer together overseas and says they drank Budweiser together in Kansas. However, events transpire which cause Dan to realize his grandfather may be more aware of his memories and his past than the family thinks he is and the "company" would like Da to be. Enlisting the assistance of his cousin Jarrod, a college campus caretaker and stoner, Dan engineers Da's escape before he is committed to long-term "care." During the course of their escapade, the three get assistance from unexpected sources. Dan discovers hidden sources of resilience within himself, and he learns that every individual has a breaking point, a "Kill Switch," when he will do whatever is necessary to survive.
Chris Lynch writes a succinct, to-the-point narrative. "Kill Switch" never wanders into unnecessary detail or dialog; it makes its points vividly. Emotions are evident, but Lynch does not become overly sentimental or maudlin as he describes the heartbreaking loss of memory Da is experiencing or its effect on Dan and his family. Personalities are well developed; characters are appealing and their conversations are filled with humor.
"Kill Switch" is quick, satisfying read. The humor and emotion contained within its pages elevate this book above most being marketed today. "Kill Switch" is definitely worthy of 5 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was just a boring book. I really never became interested in it. I didn't like any of the characters, especially the grandfather who was just a terrible person. Read morePublished on June 15, 2013 by Beth
Kill Switch by Chris Lynch follows Daniel who runs off with his grandfather who is suffering from dementia. Read morePublished on October 17, 2012 by S. Power
When I first came across this young adult novel, I immediately sat up and took notice of it first for its catchy title and second (and also most important) for its similarity to... Read morePublished on August 16, 2012 by Gregory McMahan
Well, dementia does seem to bring out the honesty in people and Da, the grandfather in "Kill Switch," certainly says what is on his mind. Read morePublished on August 13, 2012 by Cheryl Stout
This is an unusual book. It doesn't really go anywhere and the story never really kicks in at all. It is pretty slow moving all the way through. Really, I just don't get it.Published on July 21, 2012 by Terry L
This book seemed like it wanted to be either a shorter book with less to it, maybe even a story that had the unfortunate lengthening process added to it, or like it was a book that... Read morePublished on July 18, 2012 by TorridlyBoredShopper
When I say this book left me wanting more, I mean more everything-more meaningful back story, more character development, more of a plot, and more of an ending... Read morePublished on July 1, 2012 by Matt Rodriguez
'Kill Switch' ought to have it all: author pedigree, super-stylish, mature writing, and some solid, relatable characters. Read morePublished on June 3, 2012 by Doc Occula
Kill Switch is Chris Lynch's latest young adult book. It is a character study about two males - one young and one old- and delves into what makes a person flip their switch into... Read morePublished on May 26, 2012 by April