From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10 Steve Michaels (Wart) is the unhappy son of an unhappy, unpopular science teacher whom the students have christened "Toad." The two live together in great tension three years following the accidental death of the boy's mother and younger sister. "The Toad" vents his frustrations onto his students, who in turn taunt his son. But Steve has other problems. He's the non-academic son of a demanding father. He wants to follow his natural bent and become a mechanic, the sole area where he is both happy and successful. Neither father nor son seems able to help the other. As Steve puts it, "We were connected by blood and the past, but no real lines of communication." The resolution of this problem, as well as several connecting story lines including a romantic angle, is nicely done. Carter is strong on characterizationreaders can connect with any of his readily recognizable peopleand Steve is a refreshing protagonist. Bewildered, afraid and sometimes angry, he comes far closer to reality than some of the overly-wise, sophisticated teenagers of many of today's novels and TV programs. Steve's first-person narrative is sprinkled with profanities; he is an unhappy young man expressing his frustrations realistically and in tune with his character. The father, with his faults uncovered, is nonetheless presented with empathy. In all, a good performance. Robert Unsworth, Scarsdale Junior School High Library, N.Y.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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