Josh Stephenson's thirteenth year starts with a baffling sequence of events. His estranged father has just sent him a taxidermied falcon for his birthday. Read more...
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Josh Stephenson's thirteenth year starts with a baffling sequence of events. His estranged father has just sent him a taxidermied falcon for his birthday. His flirty seventeen-year-old girl cousin has moved into his house, using his bedroom as a passageway and taking bubble baths in the unlockable bathroom. And now he's gone AWOL from school to escape the locker-room teasing about certain embarrassing anatomical changes. On top of all that, he's in love, but wondering if dreams of love can ever come true. Hiding out in his secret hollow in a big rock by the sea, Josh tries to figure out once and for all: is his life being sucked into a black hole, or is this just being thirteen?
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-09-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Icelandic author Erling's pensive, meandering novel, previously published in 2008 in the U.K., opens on 13-year-old Josh Stephenson's birthday, which marks the beginning of months of internal turmoil and questioning. Josh lives with his overworked mother in Iceland; he yearns for his absent father, a sailor, who sends him a taxidermied falcon, which he and his best friend plan to make the star of their nature magazine. Tormented by his attraction to an older cousin, Gertrude (who has temporarily moved into his mother's house), and following a humiliating school incident, Josh distances himself from friends and family and decides to skip school indefinitely. During his respite, he wanders rugged Iceland, rolling thoughts and ideas over in his mind about the nature of existence and freedom. While Erling (Benjamin Dove) builds a sensitive portrait of teenage transformation with dashes of humor, beautiful observations, and a close look at the chaos that lies below the surface, the story lacks a decisive plot. Heavy use of figurative language and Josh's overly mature voice burden the novel's message about the pain of growing up. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)