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Sonya Hartnett
Teen Fiction HARTNET

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In another eloquently written, heartrending novel, Hartnett (Thursday's Child; What the Birds See) plunges readers into the story of a young man facing the end of his tormented life. Through flashbacks and shifts in narrative voice, 20-year-old Anwell's recollections of the events that have brought him to this point slowly and painfully come to light. As a child, his distant and careless parents gave him the responsibility of looking after Vernon, his mentally disabled brother, and a terrible mistake in judgment results in Vernon's death. Anwell, now referring to himself as Gabriel, is paralyzed by grief and imagines his mother, in particular, is "making an island" of him. His only friends are a feral child named Finnegan with whom he makes a Faustian pact, and his dog, Surrender. As Finnegan begins to menace the town with arson, Gabriel must stand by and watch until he realizes he has in fact surrendered his soul. The pace of the novel is almost excruciatingly measured until the heart-stopping conclusion that, in retrospect, is manifest throughout the tale, attesting to the quality of the storytelling. Readers are left to grieve for an angel child, compassionately portrayed, engaged in a tug-of-war with evil and despair. Hartnett's novels may never reach the widest audience of young readers, but those who find her work will be moved by her gifted writing and the powerful changes her characters undergo. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

As a young boy, Anwell killed his older, disabled brother by locking him in an unused freezer. Now, at 20, he is dying and recounts his brief, tragic life--his brother's death, the arsons that shook his small Australian town, and, especially, his fateful bond with the wild boy, Finnigan. Why It Is Great: Metaphors of cold and heat, feral and tame, good and evil play throughout. At the book's shocking conclusion, readers will want to start over and see how Hartnett worked her magic all along. Why It Is for Us: The story works both as a taut, psychological thriller and as an examination of the evil adults do to children--a theme in many of Hartnett's other, equally fine novels. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Anwell
Age: 20
Feels guilty for the death of his mentally disabled brother; paralyzed by grief; refers to himself as Gabriel; struggling with evil and despair; friends with Finnigan; has a dog named Surrender.

Feral; wild child; friends with Anwell; arsonist.

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