Thursday, January 24, 2008
Crutcher, Chris. 2007. DEADLINE. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060850890 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
Ben Wolf is diagnosed with leukemia right before his senior year. Since he is already eighteen, he forbids his doctor from telling his parents because they are dealing with their own issues, including his mother’s mental illness. He also decides not to be treated for the cancer and to try to cram as much into one year as he possibly can—joining his brother on the football team, learning everything he can, and dating Dallas Suzuki. He also befriends former priest and child molester Rudy McCoy and the two find some comfort in the sharing of their secrets.
Eventually, Ben finds he can no longer keep his secret and the last part of the book deals with him, his friends, and his family coming to terms with his death. Rudy also comes to terms with his past as he takes his own life.
Typically Crutcher, the book’s strong plot with a sports twist, the way difficult issues are dealt with, and the relationships between characters makes this a strong, and at times, gritty, read.
Because of some of the explicitness of the book, it might not be a good choice for classroom use but it will be a teen pleaser for both fans of Chris Crutcher and those who enjoy a well-written dramatic story. Highly recommended for teen book groups.
Other books about teenagers coping with death:
Asher, Jay. THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. ISBN 9781595141712
Downham, Jenny. BEFORE I DIE. ISBN 9780385751551
By Janet Hilbun