Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ARC review: Period 8 by Chris Crutcher

From Goodreads:
Paul "the Bomb" Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was something he learned at Sunday School. But telling the truth can cause problems, and not minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately) and his other classmates don't know is that the ultimate bully, the ultimate liar, is in their midst.

Terrifying, thought-provoking, and original, this novel combines all the qualities of a great thriller with the controversy, ethics, and raw emotion of a classic Crutcher story.

I'm going against my usual policy of writing my own synopsis instead of relying on Goodreads to do it for me, but this book is just hard to summarize. Even the official synopsis doesn't really do it justice. This was one ARC I had to nab at NCTE in November, and while I found the story to be interesting, I thought this most definitely was not classic Chris Crutcher. Yes, there's lots of strong language and controversial, challenge-worthy scenes that we're used to seeing in a Chris Crutcher novel, but behind all the grit, there is usually an equal layer of heart and feeling for the characters. I found myself feeling nothing for any of the characters in this novel, even the bad guys.

What sustained my reading and kept me turning the page was the suspenseful plot (that really didn't start to pick up until page 120) which was carried mostly by dialogue. In that regard, it would be a great selection for reluctant readers, especially guy readers, which has always been Crutcher's target audience.

Period 8 by Chris Crutcher
Expected Publication: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow
Pages: 288
Genre: Mystery
Audience: Young Adult, especially reluctant guy readers
Disclosure: ARC acquired at NCTE conference

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