Author: Lynch, Chris
Teens D.J. and Russell, life-long friends and neighbors, had drifted apart but when their firefighter fathers are both killed, they try to help one another come to terms with the tragedy and its aftermath.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 139872
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 50837
Common Core Standards
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → CCR College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → CCR College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
Kirkus Reviews (09/01/10)
School Library Journal (09/01/10)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (10/10)
The Hornbook (09/10)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/15/2010 Hundreds of YA books deal with the loss of a parent, but few situate that grief within a community as expertly as Lynch’s latest. When we meet 17-year-old Russ, his dad is already dead. A member of the beloved local firehouse known as the “Hothouse,” he was one of two firefighters killed during an attempted rescue. The town opens its heart to the men’s two sons: their money is no good anywhere, beers are handed to them at parties, and the word hero is applied not just to their fathers but to them as well. But did the town rush to lionize its fallen? As the truth of the fatal incident begins to eke out, Russ finds himself staring down a very different possibility. Lynch fully commits to the first-person voice, giving into Russ’ second-by-second conflicts and contradictions. The author also has a strong grasp of the garrulous slaps and punches that make up many male relationships—Russ’ friendships are so real they hurt. The story hurts, too, but that’s how it should be. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2010 Gr 9 Up—High school senior Russell and his childhood friend, DJ, cope with the tragic deaths of their firefighter fathers in this contemporary, realistic exploration of the relationships between fathers and sons. Often poignant but never maudlin, Russell's conversational first-person narration takes readers through the teens' tumultuous highs and lows. Initially, Russell and DJ are lauded by the people of their town who hail the fallen firefighters as heroes, but they face a vicious public backlash when it is revealed that their dads were flawed. The tenuous friendship between the two boys, who had drifted apart and are brought together again by their shared loss, is skillfully depicted as they grieve in individual ways. DJ is full of anger, while Russell's pride and love for his father mingle with shame and guilt as he strives to understand who his dad really was. Their relationship comes to life through flashbacks illustrating their bond and deftly hinting at the toll a high-pressure career can take. The struggles in this book are largely internal, with action taking a backseat to Russell's coming-of-age process. As in real life, there is no easy resolution when it comes to grief and healing, but readers are left with a sense of hope for Russell's growth. With a smattering of swear words and underage drinking, this title may be most appropriate for a high school audience.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 10/01/2010 “There was never a moment, from the time I figured out what life was and who my old man was, that I did not want to be, more or less, him.” So says Russell, whose firefighter father has just died in a conflagration along with his best buddy. A grieving Russell is, like the rest of his town, overwhelmed by his father’s heroism, and he’s puzzled that DJ, his longtime friend and the son of his father’s fallen colleague, seems uncomfortable with the adulation. When subsequent revelations turn his father’s reputation from heroic to horrendous, though, Russell struggles to defend his father’s legacy and to come to a fuller understanding of the man he worshiped. What could be a predictable story about a son’s losing his blinkered view of his dad turns, in Lynch’s skilled hands, into an understated yet moving story about heroism, community opinion, the evanescence of reputation, and father-son love. The view of firefighter culture, the fabled “Hothouse” where Russell’s and DJ’s fathers worked and where Russell hopes one day to be stationed himself, is vivid, with palpable camaraderie and distinct social identity that makes Russell understandably proud to belong. The book excels throughout at depicting the rough masculine affection that’s the keystone not only of the firefighters’ bond but also of Russell’s relationship with his good friends and, most importantly, his dad. There’s an accessibility to the text that will invite in readers who may have been daunted by more sophisticated Lynch works such as Whitechurch (BCCB 4/99), and they’ll find Russell memorable in his pain, pride, and love. DS - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.