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Surrender Hardcover – February 14, 2006

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Hardcover, February 14, 2006
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition edition (February 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763627682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763627683
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,000,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–When Anwell was seven, he caused the death of his developmentally disabled older brother. Several years later, he meets a boy his age, a wild child named Finnigan, and the two forge an unorthodox yet formidable bond. As this psychological thriller gracefully unfolds, Anwell–who now calls himself Gabriel, in reference to the archangel–and Finnigan take turns narrating an array of possible facts, probable lies, and half-truths. That Anwell/Gabriels parents are cold and repressive is probably true. That Finnigan ever intended to keep his promise to be Gabriels friend is patently false. Through the years of the boys adolescence, their small Australian town is plagued by arson. Anwells father gathers a vigilante troop to ward away the firebug while his son curries favor with the local cop by telling him when and where the vigilantes are headed. The boys share a hound named Surrender; he is a thief and marauder, not unlike at least one of his owners. As this stew of unhappiness, mischief, and outright criminality unwinds–apparently while young Gabriel lies on his deathbed–readers come to realize that he is schizophrenic. Whether his avenging efforts truly come to murder, in the form of patricide, isnt crystal clear. But it doesnt need to be: the plot is relentless, just as Finnigans efforts to torture Gabriel and Gabriels efforts to quell Finnigan appear to be in the end.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. In the small, desolate town of Mulyan, a well-behaved young boy plays with a toy car atop the fence rail surrounding his front yard. A very different sort of boy--sunbaked, unkempt, and vaguely dangerous--appears on the street side of the fence to scratch his name in the wood and taunt the young boy to move beyond his boundaries. So begins the eerie relationship between Gabriel and Finnegan: the first, an isolated and disturbed child in a profoundly dysfunctional family with an ugly history; the second, a cruel and destructive yet wildly freeing force. The two determine to be each other's reflection: one all good, the other all bad. Together they share dark secrets, make plans, and experience a pure love for Surrender, Gabriel's adopted hound. Told retrospectively from the deathbed of 20-year-old Gabriel, this is a potent and disquieting psychological tale. Given its complex vocabulary, troubling characters, and grim content, this is a book for older teens willing to experience some of humanity's bleaker aspects. Holly Koelling
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Loved the details and the imagery.
This book didn't live up to its hype and the 5 star ratings it received.
Rose Owl
It's a great read no matter what your age is.
E. C. Reed

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on May 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
On his deathbed, gasping for breath and clinging to life, Gabriel remembers his past. He recalls his childhood, when he was called Anwell. At the age of seven, entrusted with the care of his older, developmentally disabled brother while his mother rested and his father escaped, Anwell accidentally killed the older boy, an event that caused his family simultaneous trauma, embarrassment and relief.

Two years later, Anwell, isolated from his peers by his overly protective parents, encounters a very different boy, named Finnigan. The two make a pact: from now on, Finnigan will do all the bad things Anwell wants to do but can't, while Anwell does only good things. The friendless boy, desperate for company, agrees to be a reflection of his newfound blood brother, a sort of angel who can earn his repentance by attaining perfection. To mark his new status, the boy renames himself after the only angel he knows: Gabriel.

As Gabriel grows older, a series of arsons terrorize his small town. Gabriel knows who's committing the crimes and finds himself torn between the constable and his own father, who wants to form a kind of vigilante team to thwart the perpetrator. Gabriel also acquires a dog named Surrender, who soon leaves to roam the hills and forests with Finnigan, who is as restless and rangy as the dog itself.

When Gabriel develops a fixation on a female classmate, the events of his childhood and the effects of his pact with Finnigan come to a head. As the truth of Gabriel's condition is slowly revealed, readers will begin to question how much of the story --- even the horrifically violent climax --- is real, and how much of it is contained only within the mind of a disturbed young man.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Steven Reynolds on February 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Gabriel is dying. As life slips away, he looks back over his brief twenty years that have been clouded by frustration and humiliation. A small town and distant parents ensure that he is never allowed to forget the horrific mistake he made as a child. He has only two friends - his dog Surrender, and the unruly wild boy Finnigan, with whom he made a boyhood pact. When a series of arson attacks grips the town, Gabriel realises how unpredictable and dangerous Finnigan is. Events begin to spiral out of control, and it becomes clear that only the most extreme measures will rid Gabriel of Finnigan for good ... The most gratifying thing about "Surrender" is that, against all odds, it works. It would have been easy for this novel to succumb to the machinations of its thriller plot (a wonderful yarn borrowing from both the Faust and "wheatbelt gothic" traditions), or to the complexities of the episodic, double-voiced structure necessarily required if it's to do the things the author wants it to do. Add to that Hartnett's penchant for a prose that regularly borders on poetry and, in lesser hands, it could have been disastrous. As it turns out, "Surrender" is probably the best novel you'll read all year. What saves it is not only Hartnett's skill and experience, evident on every page, but the fact that the entire thing is shot through with such intense compassion. Damaged children are her stock in trade, and she never fails to make you feel for them, understand them, love them - even when they're involved in things we might otherwise deem unspeakable. Like her last, prize-winning effort for adults, "Of A Boy", this is one of those extremely rare novels possessed of all the essential qualities of great fiction: brilliant language, engaging characters, the urgency of an airport page-turner, and something important to say. It's one of those books that makes you sit back and wonder what the hell it is that other writers think they're doing with their time - and yours.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Liza Medina on July 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by one of my students, and I'm extremely impressed. This is a story about a young man's struggles to overcome an abusive life, and it is told in a narrative style that keeps you guessing until the very end. The split between Gabriel and Finnegan begins to grow wider with each passing day, and in the end, it becomes clear that Finnegan will no longer be content watching Gabriel's life from the sidelines. It is a gripping novel full of suspense and dread. A wonderful read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hannah Cooper on January 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've only heard a few stories about the land down under; some about aborigines, survival of the outback or the beaches, but in Surrender, author Sonya Hartnett (a native herself) brings us a modern, awkward tale of childhood woe and the drama surrounding it.

In the small town of Mulyan, two boys create an unusual friendship and like all friendships, trouble is bound to appear. Arson, pity and murder corrupt and captivate the intense moments in Surrender. A question to ask while reading is this: What is really going on? This book is truly an eye opener created to make the reader perceive things in an odd way. There's no wonder why it received a Printz Honor.

"I am dying; it's a beautiful word." states one of our two narrators Gabriel, as he lays in a white room, beginning the story. He is only twenty years old and his short, miserable life is coming to an end. As he confesses to us about his past we learn all about his brother's tragic death, the only girl he ever cared for, and his family's dreadful lifestyle. We also hear from Gabriel's only friend and the mystery of the story, Finnigan. All we find out about this shaggy, manipulative, non-conformist is that he has no family and runs wild through the forest. Like a hurricane, he always seems to leave destruction behind him.

As I alternated chapters I enjoyed hearing these two different perspectives. The characters' recollections are vivid; their voices can be clearly heard through Hartnett's descriptive style of writing. As I read I felt as if I was being pulled through a maze. At every turn I became more mystified by the memories and events. It seems to be that Gabriel's own reality is obscured, even if he himself doesn't realize it.

The title, Surrender, can derive from many things.
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