From Publishers Weekly
The 14-year-old narrator describes the physical and emotional abuse he experiences from his mother's boyfriend in this "well-conceived novel," said PW. "The hero's underlying sense of isolation and thread of hope will strike a chord with nearly every adolescent." Ages 13-up. (Aug.)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-John, 14, makes himself unknowable, contemplating volumes about the absurdities of his world while restraining most utterances to monosyllables. The narrative bounces between comic and serious elements, such as band director Steenwilly's glasses being blown off by the "saurian screech" of Violet's saxophone, juxtaposed with the all-too-real violence that John suffers at home and elsewhere. Klass blazes past his previous literary efforts stylistically, introducing elements of magical realism to gradually reveal a quirky, talented, and likable guy. Having been trashed by beautiful, shallow, and manipulative Gloria, John gradually discovers that down-to-earth Violet is truly the girl of his dreams. With his life already at one of its lowest points, the protagonist verbally abuses his algebra teacher, "Mrs. Moonface" and receives a week's suspension. He is viciously beaten by "the man who is not my father," and his mother doesn't know that her live-in almost-fianc is a hard-drinking, violent crook until he nearly kills John on a night when she is out of town. The story concludes with the teen finding that he is life itself to his mother, and that he is liked by his peers and teachers. School is still "anti-school," not a place of fun and learning, and snotty girls are still snotty. The world may be "muddled and painful," but it is, "in the end, a love song,"-a rewarding and important message for all readers.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.