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Monthly Archives: March 2007

“7 Days at the Hot Corner” by Terry Trueman

TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:

Terry Trueman is the author of "Stuck in Neutral," which many of you middle school students may have read as required summer reading. That one is a book about a severely disabled boy who appears to be in a non-responsive state, but who is actually quite intelligent. (Click here if you'd like to learn more about "Stuck in Neutral.")

"7 Days at the Hot Corner" is somewhat similar in that it is narrated by a teen boy; told in clear, simple language; and is rather short and easy to read. It's also quite serious and thought provoking. Basically, "7 Days" is senior baseball player Scott's story about discovering that his longtime best friend, Travis, is gay. The entire story, as the title indicates, takes place over the course of a week in which Scott's baseball team is playing for a championship. Travis' revelation that he's gay throws Scott's world into chaos. Because his parents kicked him out, Travis has moved in with Scott and his dad. Despite their friendship, lots of tension exists between the two boys. Scott, in particular, has an incredibly hard time accepting the fact that his best friend likes boys. Over the course of the story, Scott must learn to reevaluate both his assumptions about others and his friendship with Travis.

I quite liked this book. It's very short, and it raised lots of issues that would prompt a nice discussion. There's plenty of baseball action here, which helps drive the story, and Scott's voice is so honest — he does stupid things, he's believably confused — that readers will be drawn into the story through him. I'd recommend this book for readers in middle school and higher.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

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“The Gospel According to Larry” by Janet Tashjian

TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:

"The Gospel According to Larry" is presented as if it's the actual typed manuscript created by Larry's alter ego, high school senior Josh Swensen. Josh invented Larry as a way to post "sermons" about materialism and consumerism. He's as surprised as anyone when Larry's website becomes an international phenomenon; there's even a Woodstock-style "Larry Fest" headlined by U2! Unfortunately, there's also a movement to reveal Larry's true identity, which starts to make Josh increasingly edgy. Worse yet? Josh's stepdad is an advertising executive, and Josh used information taken from his confidential reports in many of Larry's postings.

I'm honestly not sure what to make of this book. Larry's sermons struck me as incredibly heavy handed, and they became, with time and repetition, a bit annoying. Josh himself seemed like an authentic character, with just enough quirks (communicating with his dead mother at the Bloomingdale's makeup counter, spending long stretches in a hidden underground pit reading the works of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau) to keep him interesting. I was not, however, entirely convinced that the story itself, the rise and fall of Larry, was entirely believable. And I wanted it to be! The somewhat depressing and contrived ending may leave readers with a bad overall impression of the book. That's a shame, because there's a lot of humor and some insightful commentary here on the world we live in. I guess, in the end, it's one of those "good not great" middle school books.

Note: There is also a sequel to this book, which is titled "Vote For Larry." Please click here to learn more in our MAIN Library catalog.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

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