- Series: Hothouse
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (August 24, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006167379X
- ISBN-13: 978-0061673795
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,756,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Hothouse: A Novel Hardcover – August 24, 2010
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–High school senior Russell and his childhood friend, DJ, cope with the tragic deaths of their firefighter fathers in this contemporary, realistic exploration of the relationships between fathers and sons. Often poignant but never maudlin, Russell's conversational first-person narration takes readers through the teens' tumultuous highs and lows. Initially, Russell and DJ are lauded by the people of their town who hail the fallen firefighters as heroes, but they face a vicious public backlash when it is revealed that their dads were flawed. The tenuous friendship between the two boys, who had drifted apart and are brought together again by their shared loss, is skillfully depicted as they grieve in individual ways. DJ is full of anger, while Russell's pride and love for his father mingle with shame and guilt as he strives to understand who his dad really was. Their relationship comes to life through flashbacks illustrating their bond and deftly hinting at the toll a high-pressure career can take. The struggles in this book are largely internal, with action taking a backseat to Russell's coming-of-age process. As in real life, there is no easy resolution when it comes to grief and healing, but readers are left with a sense of hope for Russell's growth. With a smattering of swear words and underage drinking, this title may be most appropriate for a high school audience.Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Hundreds of YA books deal with the loss of a parent, but few situate that grief within a community as expertly as Lynch's latest. When we meet 17-year-old Russ, his dad is already dead. A member of the beloved local firehouse known as the “Hothouse,” he was one of two firefighters killed during an attempted rescue. The town opens its heart to the men's two sons: their money is no good anywhere, beers are handed to them at parties, and the word hero is applied not just to their fathers but to them as well. But did the town rush to lionize its fallen? As the truth of the fatal incident begins to eke out, Russ finds himself staring down a very different possibility. Lynch fully commits to the first-person voice, giving into Russ' second-by-second conflicts and contradictions. The author also has a strong grasp of the garrulous slaps and punches that make up many male relationships—Russ' friendships are so real they hurt. The story hurts, too, but that's how it should be. Grades 8-10. --Daniel Kraus
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Russell's dad is a firefighter. A hero. DJ's dad is a firefighter in the same house- The Hothouse. Growing up, DJ and Russell's families were so close, DJ was named after Russell's dad and Russell was named after DJ's dad. Since childhood, DJ and Russell have grown apart, but their father's chosen profession has always left them connected in a way no one can understand unless they lived in a firefighter's household.
The story begins with the funerals of DJ and Russell's fathers. They were killed in a horrible fire while saving an elderly woman. The town is anxious to memorialize both men. DJ and Russell find themselves local heroes by association: no one takes their money for anything, everyone wants to be near them, and people can't stop telling them how wonderful their fathers were. While Russell seems to revel in this attention and feels special for having the father he did, DJ seems to shun the attention. He wants to move on and desperately wants the town to stop glorifying everything his father ever did.
When an investigation begins over the deaths of their fathers, both boys are confused, but they are assured it is all routine to investigate any death in the line of duty. It quickly becomes apparent, though, that their fathers weren't as saintly as the town wanted them to be. Haunted by their lives and what they had seen, both men may have entered that fire intoxicated and with drugs in their system. Russell doesn't know how to deal with this information. He still loves and respects his father, but the news and the harassing phone calls make him doubt his father and his love for his father. DJ isn't quite as surprised, though.
This book is not only difficult, it's heartbreaking. You really want to just let both men be heroes without the investigation, especially after they lost their lives, but the fallen hero is a compelling story. The story shows that even the heroes can have flaws and even the flawed can be heroes. This is a great story to elicit some thought-provoking opinions, assignments, and discussions.
The writing is fairly low-leveled, but their are some adult situations and adult language throughout the story. I would think this story would be good for an older student who has low skills, but needs a more mature story. Since it is primary character driven, it isn't the best story for a kid who needs a lot of action. It is also a more abstract story, so the concrete thinkers might not appreciate it as much as others. In all, this is a great story for a specific niche within your student population. It is very hard to find mature books with lower reading levels, so this book is certainly a gem. Beware, however, that there are no easy answers from this book- it is a hard one to digest, but worth the necessary Tums to get it down!
I liked the topic of essentially canonizing the dead and then realizing, after the fact, that they might not have been perfect. That was probably my favorite part of the book because it elicited the strongest emotion from me. The way the town just turned on these two innocent boys was quite frankly disgusting. They elevated the two dead firefighters to god-like levels. They set up their own expectations. But these guys ended up not meeting those expectations and instead of looking in on themselves for blame the town projected it onto innocent people, as if it were them that did all the saint-claiming. That was kind of hard to read, especially when it got to reading how poorly Russ was treated. It even got physical and that was pretty disgusting. It shows the whole mob mentality all raw and front and center. I liked that for how horrifying it was.
But the rest of it, I felt like there was this distance to the MC that I just couldn't close. I got him talking about how his dad's death was affecting him and all of that but it seemed to gloss over the really important parts, like the actual death, the inquiry, the newspaper articles, things like that. All of that was skimmed by and you kind of got this afterthought reaction from Russ about everything that was going on. He's essentially gone through his life naive and not willing to see what was right in front of his face and I felt the narrative was that kind of distant. It kind of came crumbling down at the end and that gap closed a little but not that much and it was really too little too late.
The voice was kind of irksome too. Hanging out on the edge of trying to be a little too hip and teenage-ish. It rubbed me the wrong way a bit right from the beginning. I'm sure that played into how closely I didn't get to the text but nothing I can really do about that.
Ultimately it wasn't a bad read and I did enjoy reading HOTHOUSE but I didn't really connect with it. The elements that Russ was reacting to were kept in the background, thus eliminating weight from his reactions, I thought. They weren't grounded out at all. I was in Russ's head the whole time but I still felt a distance, like you could see him lying to himself, which he really was with all of those flashback memories he kept having. But I think those ended up doing the story a disservice because it kept him too far away from the present. It's a bit subdued in terms of recent contemporaries but not bad. It's different so it has that going for it, especially since it's a male POV. I've read better but it's still okay.