Thursday, March 31, 2016

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

I love the author, Chris Crutcher. He is honest and unflinching when he writes about teens. In Deadline, he continues this. I thought this would be a good book to read after reading John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, and after finishing it, I feel so even more strongly.

Ben Wolf is an 18 year old young man who is about to start his senior year of high school. He lives in a small Idaho town and has some big dreams: getting a track scholarship and getting out of that small town are chief among them. His plans change drastically when he is told by his doctor that he has a terminal illness and about one year left to live. 

His first decision is to keep this a secret. He does not want everyone in town to treat him differently. He wants to live as normal a life as possible. His second decision, based on the whole life remaining normal idea, is to refuse treatment. The chance of him surviving with treatment is minuscule. Rather than end his life that way, he decides that if this year is all he has left, he is going to live it to the fullest. 

This success of this book is due to the excellent, in-depth characters that Crutcher has created. They are richly detailed and multilayered. There are no caricatures in his writing. These people came alive for me. There was character-based surprise after surprise. The exploration of the power and problems involved in all levels of secrecy made me stop and think more than a few times. Hard to look at secrets the same way after reading this.

I might not put this on my middle school bookshelf, but in a high school classroom, definitely. I urge you to read it.  

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