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A book by Charles Benoit

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Realistic and unsettling

  • Aug 7, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+3
This is a hard hitting story about Kyle, an unhappy teenager who falls under the spell of a friend who is not a friend. He has more problems than just one sociopathic friend, but he is not yet a lost soul, nor is he a bad person. We watch him make a series of bad choices, distance himself from family and friends, fight with his teachers, and hide his true self from the girl that he loves. All of these are typical for a teen, but his choices have consequences.

The author tells the whole story in the second person, an unusual format that works quite well, setting a tone that is slightly accusatory, maintaining an emotional distance between the author and Kyle. Yet this style allows the reader to sympathize with Kyle, even to identify with him.

The final scene is also the opening scene in this novel, so there is not any real suspense, although you do want to know how Kyle came to be where he is, and what motivated him to do what he does. I would have been more satisfied with the story if it didn't involve an accident at a pivotal moment, but that is a minor quibble. This novel kept my interest all the way through, and I recognize the writer's skill in crafting a compelling and compact story. The writer is also wise and knowing in the ways of teens. I recommend this to all who know a teenager, and to some who still are teens. Advisory: there is some violence, profanity, and sexual content.

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More You reviews
review by . August 19, 2010
This book suffers from being over hyped, my cover had about 15 blurbs screaming how amazing, breathtaking, shattering, blah blah this book is, well maybe if all that was omitted and the letter from the editor which said that it will change your life and you will talk about it forever wasn't there I would have liked it more. The story is interesting but not above average, the author tries to grab the reader using the second person perspective, but comes out sounding a bit preachy and I certainly …
review by . February 15, 2011
Writing in the second person (addressing the reader as "you =" while writing--"you walk in a room") is a tricky thing, David Klass handled it beautifully in You Don't Know Me.      Benoit tries to use the same conceit here but it doesn't come off quite as cleanly in this book which is told exclusively in the second person. Part of it might be reading about a male narrator when I'm not a guy, I don't know. What I can say is the main effect it …
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Gr 8 Up–As the book opens, Kyle Chase wonders how he got himself into the dire situation he's in. Reflecting on the start of the school year, he recalls how his grades fell and he enrolled at Midlands High, while his friends headed to Odyssey. He met the hoodie crew and adopted their uniform of jeans, T-shirt, and black-hooded sweatshirts. He suppressed the guilt he felt after the group broke into the school. He tried to do the right thing and return a stolen wallet, but got suspended for three days for fighting. Doing catch-up work in the library, Kyle encounters witty and sarcastic Zack and chooses to follow him around. However, after losing a job opportunity, a potential girlfriend, and the respect of a teacher, Kyle begins to suspect that he is being sabotaged. Benoit's choice of second-person perspective allows readers to explore Kyle's motivations fully, but infuses the narrative with a moralizing undertone; an undertone that erupts during the teen's climactic self-evaluation. However, the sense of persecution and unfairness that dominates the text accurately captures his perspective. While the teen characters are well developed, the casual attention paid to the adults is obvious. When Kyle is offhandedly dismissed by his mother in an overheard conversation with his younger sister, the emotional response is honest and visceral. The rapid pace is well suited to the narrative, though sophisticated readers will be able to identify the twist exactly ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0061947040
ISBN-13: 978-0061947049
Author: Charles Benoit
Genre: Children's Books, Teens
Publisher: HarperTeen
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