Synopses & Reviews
"In the tradition of John Knowles's A Separate Peace."--Publisher Weekly, Starred
"One of the best young adult books I've read in years."--Pat Conroy
William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist
At the beginning of his junior year at a boys' boarding school, 16-year-old Alex is devastated when he fails to save a drowning friend. When questioned, Alex and his friend Glenn, who was also at the river, begin weaving their web of lies. Plagued by guilt, Alex takes refuge in the library, telling his tale in a journal he hides behind Moby-Dick. Caught in the web with Alex and Glenn is their English teacher, Miss Dovecott, fresh out of Princeton, who suspects there's more to what happened at the river when she perceives guilt in Alex's writing for class. She also sees poetic talent in Alex, which she encourages. As Alex responds to her attention, he discovers his true voice, one that goes against the boarding school bravado that Glenn embraces. When Glenn becomes convinced that Miss Dovecott is out to get them, Alex must choose between them.
"Following in the tradition of John Knowles's A Separate Peace, this eloquent first novel set in 1982 at an all-male boarding school explores circumstances surrounding the accidental death of a student. Seventeen-year-old Thomas's obituary states that he died 'as the result of a swimming accident,' but his classmate Alex knows that's not the whole story. He attempts to explain what really happened to Thomas in the pages of his secret journal, yet the more he writes the more complicated the truth becomes. Hubbard leads readers down a twisting path to extract bits of truth from journal entries layered with emotion and warped by deception. A day of reckoning forces Alex to choose between his encouraging English teacher, with whom he is desperately infatuated, and the school's golden boy, Glen. Hubbard has a superb handle on her boarding school setting, as Alex, a gifted writer who's influenced by Melville and the poetry they study, turns his eye on the inextricably entwined forces of honor, loyalty, masculinity, and sexuality that dominate the Birch School, as well as his guilt and search for identity. A powerful, ambitious debut. Ages 14 up. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
JENNY HUBBARD is a poet and playwright, and has taught English in both high school and college for many years. This is her first novel.