A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Friday, June 22, 2012

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Since we’re just getting started, I thought it might be a good idea to review several books fairly quickly so the other reviews don’t get sad and lonely.  As I was going through the shelf of books that I’ve read recently, I came across Chris Crutcher’s Deadline and knew instantly that I had to write about it.  I’ve read other books by Chris Crutcher and really enjoyed them, but this one went well beyond that.  This book made me want to know more about the author, and I was surprised to learn that he is also a counselor, which made perfect sense due to the content of the book.  The main character in Deadline is Ben Wolf, a sarcastic high school senior who learns that he has one year to live because of a rare blood disease.  While his doctor tries to save his life and his counselor tries to help him get in touch with his feelings, Ben tries to make the best of his senior year by checking a few things off his to-do list.  The book is a high-school version of the movie 50/50, and it packs quite the emotional punch.

Title:  Deadline
Author:  Chris Crutcher
Pages:  320
Publisher:  Greenwillow Books
ISBN:  9780060850890
Publication Date:  September 18, 2007
AR Levels:  Interest Level--9th to 12th; Book Level--5.1; Points--10.0

In a nutshell:  Ben Wolf, a high school senior, has only been 18 for two weeks when he learns that a rare blood disease will probably end his life in about a year.  Against the advice of his doctor, Ben decides to keep his diagnosis a secret from everyone, including his family, and have the best possible senior year.  But now, instead of just having a bucket list of things he wants to accomplish before graduation, he has to add a few things he wants to accomplish before he dies—making the football team, getting the girl, leaving a legacy in his small town, etc.  The only people who know his secret are his doctor and his counselor, and one is trying to save him from his diagnosis while the other tries to save him from himself.  From beginning to end, Crutcher takes you on a poignant, funny, gripping, sarcastic, and gritty journey to the intersection of living and dying.

I’d Recommend It for Grades:  9th-12th+ (If this was a movie, it could possibly get an R rating because of pretty strong language and some sexual content.  Parents and teachers may want to preview the book first before recommending it.)

I’d Recommend It To:  Anyone who likes reading about people with real problems, anyone who’s ever been affected by loss or illness, and anyone who just wants to read a great book!

What I Liked Most About This Book:  Deadline gives a realistic view of what it’s like for a teenager to deal with a terminal illness without sugar coating the details.  Crutcher really takes you into the mind of Ben Wolf.

Single Favorite Moment:  In an attempt to make waves and buck the system, Ben tells his very conservative American History teacher that for his class project he wants to convince his small town city council to name a street after Malcolm X.  Chaos ensues.

Star Rating:  Definitely 5 stars!  I thought this one was incredible.

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