(10)
 
Deadline
by Chris Crutcher

Overview -

Ben Wolf has big things planned for his senior year. Had big things planned. Now what he has is some very bad news and only one year left to make his mark on the world.

How can a pint-sized, smart-ass seventeen-year-old do anything significant in the nowheresville of Trout, Idaho?  Read more...


 
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More About Deadline by Chris Crutcher
 
 
 
Overview

Ben Wolf has big things planned for his senior year. Had big things planned. Now what he has is some very bad news and only one year left to make his mark on the world.

How can a pint-sized, smart-ass seventeen-year-old do anything significant in the nowheresville of Trout, Idaho?

First, Ben makes sure that no one else knows what is going on--not his superstar quarterback brother, Cody, not his parents, not his coach, no one. Next, he decides to become the best 127-pound football player Trout High has ever seen; to give his close-minded civics teacher a daily migraine; and to help the local drunk clean up his act.

And then there's Dallas Suzuki. Amazingly perfect, fascinating Dallas Suzuki, who may or may not give Ben the time of day. Really, she's first on the list.

Living with a secret isn't easy, though, and Ben's resolve begins to crumble . . . especially when he realizes that he isn't the only person in Trout with secrets.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780060850890
  • ISBN-10: 0060850892
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • Publish Date: September 2007
  • Page Count: 316
  • Reading Level: Ages 14-UP


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Issues - General
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Sports & Recreation - Football

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 167.
  • Review Date: 2007-07-16
  • Reviewer: Staff

Ben Wolf, 18, goes in for a routine sports physical before his senior year and learns he has an aggressive form of leukemia and a year to live. In order to enjoy the rest of this witty and wise novel, readers will have to suspend disbelief at this point, because Ben decides to do nothing. (“I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone else, but I’m not going out bald and puking.”) He also chooses not to tell anyone and threatens legal action if his doctor breaches patient confidentiality. Readers will be treated to the thrilling last year of Ben’s life, in which the 123-pounder ditches track for football so he can play alongside his brother, Cody, the team’s star quarterback. Crutcher’s oeuvre is full of plot-heavy novels; the issues crammed into this one include alcoholism, child molestation, absent/abusive parents, bigotry, teenage motherhood and depression. But the narrative never drowns in a sea of woe. With the help of Hey-Soos, a laidback confidant who appears in Ben’s dreams, he parses the dilemmas his secret produces. Ben succeeds both on the gridiron and with the comely Dallas Suzuki. (“Submit this story to an editor and it’s returned as too much fantasy even for fantasy,” he says after she asks him to Homecoming.) Ben’s voice often sounds distinctly like the author’s, but here’s predicting readers will not care one whit. The message at the core of Crutcher’s latest—“Life’s short. Do what you love.”—is delivered inside an entertaining, thought-provoking tearjerker. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)

 
BookPage Reviews

The lessons of a final year

Eighteen-year-old Ben Wolf has just received a death sentence—he has an aggressive, terminal form of leukemia and at most a year to live—but he's not about to take it lying down. "I'm not going bald and puking. I don't have anything to teach anyone about life, and I'm not brave, but I'd rather be a flash than a slowly cooling ember, so I'll eat healthy food, take supplements, sleep good, and take what the universe gives me. And I'm turning out for football."

Jockey-sized Ben has always run cross-country instead of playing football, but seeing as this is his last hurrah, Ben's determined to make the most of his senior year, because it's probably the last year he has left.

Besides helping his eight-man team reach the state tournament, Ben's plans for the year also include reaching out to Rudy, the town drunk, confronting his narrow-minded civics teacher, and winning the heart of gorgeous volleyball star Dallas Suzuki, all without letting any of them—or anyone else in the tiny town of Trout, Idaho—discover his reasons for living each day as if it's his last.

Ben does manage to get the girl, grow closer to his brother Cody as the two become an unstoppable force on the football field, and even forge an uneasy friendship with Rudy. But as other people confide their deepest, most troubling secrets to Ben, how can he continue to hide his own greatest secret from the people he loves?

In his latest novel, Deadline, Chris Crutcher revisits many of his familiar themes—death, child molestation, censorship and sports—but does so in the context of a startlingly heartrending plot that manages to be simultaneously wise, thought-provoking, occasionally maddening and frequently very, very funny. Ben's intelligence, zeal and sarcastic humor not only win him friends and help him cope with his diagnosis; they also make for an engaging narrative that balances wit with pathos. Ben's deadline year forces him to re-evaluate his decisions and discover that maybe his death—or the way he lives his life—has a lot to teach people after all.

 
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