Monday, February 22, 2010


This is another one of those books that has been out for a while, but that I just never got around to reading until recently. I liked the idea behind it and it was showing up on enough "Best YA Books" lists that I decided now was as good a time as any to read it.

This is the story about a boy who really wants to fit in. He is picked up to go to a party and berates himself for not wearing the right clothes, not fitting in how he would like to, not making the transition into the "it" crowd as he would like. Then, he get humiliated by a girl who he has been crushing on for a long time and decides his life isn't worth living. He decides to kill himself but ends up taking the life of another instead. Part of his punishment is to build a whirligig at each of the four corners of the United States in memory of the beautiful and successful girl he killed.

I have mixed feelings on this book. I loved the idea - the writing, the intertwining story lines, the lessons learned. I think the problem I had with this book was that I really hoped it would be one that I could give to the kids who were on the same path as Brent, that it would help them see what was really important, etc. Don't get me wrong, this is a great book. The problem I have with it is really the expectation I had that was unfair. This book is a great one to give to someone who has been on a good path but may be playing with the idea to go down a different one rather than encouraging the struggling student to come back. It is a feel good book for feel good kinds of readers, great writing and memorable characters.

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