Synopses & Reviews
andlt;b andgt;Three-time Coretta Scott King Awardand#8211;winner Angela Johnson writes a wrenching, honest book about surviving the unimaginable and finding a way to go on.andlt;/bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Scotty compares herself to tofu: no flavor unless you add something. And itand#8217;s true that Scottyand#8217;s friends, Misha and Falcone, and her brother, Keone, make life delicious. But when a terrible accident occurs, Scotty feels responsible for the loss of someone she hardly knew, and the world goes wrong. She cannot tell what is a dream and what is real. Her friends are having a hard time getting through to her and her family is preoccupied with their own trauma. But the prospect of a boy, a dance, and the possibility that everything can fall back into place soon help Scotty realize that she is capable of adding her own flavor to life.andlt;BRandgt;With artfully spare prose, acclaimed and award-winning author Angela Johnson explores the ramifications of unexpected death in this compelling coming-of-age story.
"Three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Johnson (Heaven) pens a story of dazzling immediacy set in Cleveland. Her keenly observant narrator, Scotty, 16, divides her days between attending school, dealing with her autistic younger brother, Keone; and hanging out with her friends Falcone and Misha at the Endangered Species Cafe. Scotty's chief concerns are planning for the upcoming homecoming dance and making a trip to visit Falcone's sister, Gina, who became a mother figure to Scotty after her mother died. But Scotty's world is turned upside down when she's in a train crash that kills three students, including her very recent crush, and puts Keone in a coma. Dazed, Scotty suffers from survivor's guilt ('Half of Keone's bones are broken. I got bruises and a twisted knee. Life is stupid'), fantasizing ways the crash could have been avoided. Realistic dialogue and a cast of vibrant characters give lively texture to Johnson's nonlinear narrative. Through minimal exposition and Scotty's singular voice, Johnson gracefully explores life's defining moments, whether painful or bittersweet, and how the world carries on, even when everything has changed. Ages 14 up. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*"[A Certain October] provides raw and honest insight into all of the emotions the teen is experiencingand#8230;This fast-paced, well-crafted novel is capable of engaging even the most reluctant readers."andlt;BRandgt; --andlt;iandgt;SLJandlt;/iandgt;, starred review
*"This slim book looks like it will be a quick read, but it turns out to be much more demanding--and rewarding--due to the story's complex structure and the author's gift for showing, not telling."
--The Horn Book, starred review
*"A wonderfully crafted and deeply satisfying novel, full of detail that provides texture and meaning."andlt;BRandgt; --andlt;iandgt;Kirkus Reviewsandlt;/iandgt;, starred review
*"A story of dazzling immediacyand#8230;Realistic dialogue and a cast of vibrant characters give lively texture to Johnson's nonlinear narrative. Through minimal exposition and Scotty's singular voice, Johnson gracefully explores life's defining moments, whether painful or bittersweet, and how the world carries on, even when everything has changed."
*and#8220;This slim book looks like it will be a quick read, but it turns out to be much more demandingand#8212;and rewardingand#8212;due to the storyand#8217;s complex structure and the authorand#8217;s gift for showing, not telling.and#8221; andlt;BRandgt; --andlt;iandgt;The Horn Book,andlt;/iandgt; starred review
A new novel from the three time Coretta Scott King Award winner Angela Johnson.
About the Author
Angela Johnson has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels andlt;iandgt;The First Part Lastandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Heavenandlt;/iandgt;, and andlt;iandgt;Toning the Sweepandlt;/iandgt;. andlt;iandgt;The First Part Lastandlt;/iandgt; was also the recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award. She is also the author of the novels andlt;iandgt;Looking for Redandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;A Certain Octoberandlt;/iandgt;. Her books for younger readers include the Coretta Scott King Honor Book andlt;iandgt;When I Am Old with Youandlt;/iandgt;, illustrated by David Soman; andlt;iandgt;Wind Flyersandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;I Dream of Trainsandlt;/iandgt;, both illustrated by Loren Long; and andlt;iandgt;Lottie Paris Lives Here andlt;/iandgt;and its sequel andlt;iandgt;Lottie Paris and the Best Placeandlt;/iandgt;, both illustrated by Scott M. Fischer. Additional picture books includeandnbsp;andlt;iandgt;A Sweet Smell of Rosesandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Just Like Josh Gibsonandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;The Day Ray Got Awayandlt;/iandgt;, and andlt;iandgt;All Different Nowandlt;/iandgt;. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Kent, Ohio. Visit her at AJohnsonAuthor.com.