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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,521 ratings  ·  226 reviews
SURRENDER is a mesmerizing psychological thriller from extraordinary novelist Sonya Hartnett.

I am dying: it's a beautiful word. Like the long slow sigh of a cello: dying. But the sound of it is the only beautiful thing about it.

As life slips away, Gabriel looks back over his brief twenty years, which have been clouded by frustration and humiliation. A small, unforgiving t
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 14th 2006 by Candlewick Press (first published January 1st 2005)
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Well, damn. This menacing tale surprised me again and again. A quarter way through and I wanted to hurl it against a wall for the gluttonous poetics, rampant and unchecked, almost saccharin. I felt like I was being pelted with confetti. It was impossible to find a rhythm.

Then we have characters thinking adult thoughts and acting and speaking like children. believability?

But then I just grew accustomed, caught hold of the narrative, sunk into the characters.... Though heavy handed the raw under
Wow. Amazing what takes place in this story, both plot-wise and prose-wise. An extraordinary novel.
This book is beautifully written. There were many many passages that I wanted to go back and reread because they were extremely well-written. The story was okay...I thought it was a tad predictable but I read reviews before reading the book (probably a bad idea). I would definitely recommend this book as a must read even though it wouldn't make my top ten or twenty list.
This book is ridiculously difficult to review. On one hand, I need to discuss what happens in the story and why it works. On the other hand, even saying what this book is about would be a spoiler. When you know what a book really has in store for you, it becomes less surprising and, sometimes, pretty disappointing.

So, here is my attempt to do this strange, unsettling book justice.

SURRENDER grabs you from the very first page with its beautiful language:

“I am dying: it's a beautiful word. Like the
This review is more of me as a reader trying to sort out my thoughts than a summery and "read this!" or "don't read this!" argument. So.

Anwell met Finnigan and he scratches his name backwards on the fence. Makes boyhood pact "you be good, or the angel, aka Gabriel, I'll be the bad, Finnigan." Oh no! Finnigan is an arsonist! He sets alight valuable items of those who have wronged (usually by bullying) Anwell/Gabrial. Why is he bullied? He accidently killed his older handicapped brother Vernon. Hi
I HATED this book when I first finished. Now, after giving it time to sink in, I can begin to see some redemptive value to it. I would NOT classify this a YA lit, although it has been by professionals and won the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in YA Lit. I really don't agree with most of the books that win that award, so I don't know why I bother to read them. This book has a lot of difficult scenes. There are a couple very tough murders. Some questions the reading brought up are: how re ...more
Katherine Lewis

Alright, let me start off by saying that this is a BEAUTIFULLY written book! The imagery, the characters, the storytelling, the style is all exquisite and really draws you in. It's almost like reading poetry. Check out a sample section here:

"I can tell he isn't genuinely confused--the serpentine master of the dodge and weave, he is trying to trick or trip me. A moment of uncertainty is all he needs, to plunge under my skin. [...] He is the shadow in the cupboard and the whisper in the wall. Fear
An intriguing psychological thriller. Sonya Hartnett's words weave a dangerous tale of a dying man recounting his struggle as a young boy, and what occurred between him and his playmate. But is it all real? Does it all actually exist? It seems so to Anwell, our story's protagonist. It all begins when the unruly Finnigan arrives at Anwell's house and the two make a pact: Anwell will be Gabriel, a perfect angel. And Finnigan will be the devil, carrying out cruel punishments against the people who ...more
Errin Tucker
Surrender is a work of Fantasy/Science Fiction. This book received the Michael Printz Award in 2007. It is designed for the A: Advanced readers (ages 14 to adult).
Surrender was about two young boys named Finnigan and Gabriel who are life-long friends. As Gabriel reflects on his life, he shares the struggles of he and Finnigan.
I rated the book with 4 stars. I enjoyed the book because each chapter made me want to continue on to see what was to happen next. At the same time it seemed to me that th
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It's not very often that I get to the end of a book and am left unsure as to what just happened. That being said, I'm not sure it was a bad thing. Just a new one.

This is the story of Gabriel, now 20 and dying, as he looks back over his life and childhood, which was far from easy. His parents were always looked down upon in the town, even before his father made himself an enemy of the constable.

Gabriel, who's real name is Anwell, had a lonely childhood. Though he had a brother, Vernon was ill, an
It was super dark and really just messed up. The writing style was very detailed and i loved the metaphors but sometimes i thouhgt she could have toned down the descriptions which is why i gave it a four instead of a five. I really loved the duel meaning of surrender as well. Gabriel having to surrender his freedom to darkness only to infect his life with the shadow of it...there was some really deep goings on. However the end deeply confused me, i suppose that was the point. ***SPOILERS*** I qu ...more
Wow. This book really exceeded expectations. I bought it at the local Half-Price Books while looking for something new to pass the time while camping the next week. The plot sounded decent, and, honestly, the first line, with death being like a cello - well, I really liked that metaphor, me being both slightly morbid and an exuberant lover of cellos. So I figured, oh, what the heck.

Definitely worth my 8 or so dollars.

First off, the prose was delightfully surprising. It was rich, and eloquent, an
Michelle Doerr
Wow, what a story. When beginning Surrender I thought it was sort of predictable, but the intense nature and the vivid descriptions kept me reading. I believe the story is realistic fiction made for advanced readers. Anwell, also known as Gabriel, is sick and dying and reflecting back on his short 20 years of life. In recalling his past, he describes the humiliating, uneventful life he has had. Friendless, he was more than happy to become friends with the wild child Finnigan. Finnigan is certai ...more
Steph Su
In a muggy and tired Australian country town, a delicate boy by the name of Anwell lives with his oppressive parents. At age 20, Anwell is wasting away on his deathbed, the victim of an unidentifiable disease. In the meantime, his childhood friend, the wild child arsonist Finnigan, roams with his dog, Surrender, who used to be Anwell’s. Told in flashbacks, Anwell remembers his moments with Finnigan, his psychotic control-freak parents, his crush Evangeline, Surrender, and the time he and Finniga ...more
Damian Millas
This book was dark, yet beautifully written with imagery and creativity. At the same time, the details mush the story's flow, and the plot is utterly confusing. Often I read slowly to appreciate the writing, but other times I wanted to fly through in search for answers to what was actually going on. In the end, I was left with a thought that the story was totally bizarro. Essentially, I thought the book was more confusing and annoying than enjoyable.
"As life slips away, Gabriel looks back over his brief twenty years, which have been clouded by frustration and humiliation. A small, unforgiving town and distant, punitive parents ensure that he is never allowed to forget the horrific mistake he made as a child. He has only two friends - his dog, Surrender, and the unruly wild boy, Finnigan, a shadowy doppelganger with whom the meek Gabriel once made a boyhood pact. But when a series of arson attacks grips the town, Gabriel realizes how unpredi ...more
Beautiful writing, but it did take a long time to get anywhere, and then at the end I wasn't quite sure where we had actually ended up....
“I am dying: it's a beautiful word. Like the long slow sigh of the cello: dying. But the sound of it is the only beautiful thing about it.”

One of the best book everyone should read.
Finished it in a day. And liked it. And when it sink into you that what really happened, it will be like oh !! It was happening and i did not see it .

Any thing i say about the book will be a spoiler.
So less story and more about writing.
And writing is just wow. Different metaphors. Poetic lines. Relate-able thoughts
Color me confused, but after finishing this novel I'm still not sure what it is about. There was some plot in there, maybe. There was some very poetic writing exploring—what I'm not sure. Maybe mental illness, maybe isolation? Mostly I just wanted Anwell/Gabriel to shut up. This is a Prince Honor book so someone (actually lots of really well read someones) found something really great about this novel, but I must admit it was lost on me.
La Coccinelle
Reading this book was a strange experience. I haven't read a story in quite a while that kept me guessing as much as this one did. Even after finishing it, I'm still not sure what actually happened. However, the ambiguity may be (partly) the point.

At first, Surrender reads a bit like a fictional memoir, with twenty-year-old Gabriel narrating from his sickbed. The story starts off as a lyrical portrait of life in small-town Australia, and we quickly come to realize that poor Gabriel doesn't exact
Hannah Louey

Sonya Hartnett is an award-winning Australian novelist who creates stories that look innocent on the outskirts, but always seem to reveal a deeper meaning. In the same way that Australian horror movies always seem to be set in the outback or in a country town, population 1000, Hartnett’s novels seem always to be a tad sinister, with a placid, country town as its backdrop.

Surrender follows the life of Anwell, seven, a lonely boy who lives in a prestigious b
Ashley Nadine
I hated this book. I had a hard time getting into the story and was confused throughout most of it. Is Finnigan real or part of Gabe? Is Gabe insane, and if so is any of the story real? How if Finnigan is not real do others in the story react to him, like Gabe's doctor hating him?

no review of the story cleared anything up for me either so I'm still not sure what the point of the story is.
Kennedy Childers
Surrender is a story of two boys from very different upbringings. One The Angel, the other doing tje Angel's dirty work. These two boys one, in a way. Whatver one boy does, the other does. The book is told through the narration of the dying Anwell and the wild Finnigan. Sonya Hartnett uses words to describe the immensely complicated relationship between these two drastically contrasting boys.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wow! What a weird, dark, and twisted story! I definitely became obsessed with finishing it so I could put all the pieces together! (Even though a few were left missing, it just added to the mystique.)
Gareth Brewer
When ( and you should) read this book you will be confused. The. you'll (and you will) pick it up a few months or years later and reread it you will take something completely different from this book. I have read this short little run through mental and physical illness 4 times, and every time I got something different out of it. The character "Gabriel" or "Anwell" is written in such away you connect with him upon the first few sentences. The story then leads you to hate everyone around him. Wit ...more
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ENG 580 Spring 2014: Choice Book #4 1 3 Mar 18, 2014 04:49PM  
Is Gabriel really dying? 2 11 Jul 04, 2013 10:32AM  
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Sonya Hartnett (also works under the pseudonym Cameron S. Redfern) is, or was, something of an Australian child prodigy author. She wrote her first novel at the age of thirteen, and had it published at fifteen. Her books have also been published in Europe and North America. Her novels have been published traditionally as young adult fiction, but her writing often crosses the divide and is also enj ...more
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“I am dying: it's a beautiful word. Like the long slow sigh of the cello: dying. But the sound of it is the only beautiful thing about it.” 40 likes
“I thought about how stupid it is, that all of us are born destined to desire somebody else, though desire brings with it such disappointment and pain. Humankind's history must be scored bloody with heartbreak. This hankering for affection is a blight upon us.” 27 likes
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