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The Sin Eater

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  130 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
After Cole's mother dies, he and his father go to live with his mother's parents in tiny Albion, New Hampshire. The Emersons make it easier for Cole to cope -- but he is helpless in the face of his father's depression. So Cole turns to Albion itself, and its history. Can the old stories help him handle the present?
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Puffin (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paula Soper
Jun 09, 2012 Paula Soper rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2012
I also have a crush on Gary Schmidt's words.
Dec 26, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Miguel carrillo
May 16, 2016 Miguel carrillo marked it as to-read
Miguel Carrillo
Period 6

Book Final review
I like to write a brief summary of my book the Sin Eater this book is written by Gary D. Schmidt it’s a fiction book and this book is recommended for everyone in my opinion because it teaches you lessons about life. This book was published on the year 2003 in New York what this book is about it’s about a kid whose name is Joe and he lost his family and had to face life by himself. The life of Joe changed in a dramatically way because he first lost
Nancy Butts
May 22, 2014 Nancy Butts rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I’m not sure how to write about this book. It’s Gary Schmidt’s first novel, and just like everything else of his I’ve read, it’s beautifully written. I love “Okay for Now” and “The Wednesday Wars” with complete abandon, and it’s true that they plumb the same well that Schmidt seems irresistibly drawn to—how in the midst of life, we are in death. Joy and sorrow, the little losses and victories of ordinary days, grief and triumph, they are all mingled together such that they can never be teased ap ...more
Aaron Radford
Dec 14, 2015 Aaron Radford rated it really liked it
Like other Schmidt novels, it stars a young man who is facing real-life dramatic problems. Cole, the main character, mother has just died. She was diagnosed with cancer, and her fate was sealed. A few months after the death of his mother, he and his widowed father move in with his maternal grandparents: the Emersons. Just 6 months after moving, on Christmas Eve, his father takes his life by shooting himself. Cole is now alone. Just like other Schmidt novels, Cole is able to use stories (in this ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Donna rated it it was amazing
This is Gary Schmidt's first book. I picked it up for the title as I have read Francine River's novel THE LAST SIN EATER. It is one of my favorite books. I have read it two times and watched the movie as many.

This book was such a moving story about a young boy who returned to the New Hampshire farm where his deceased mother grew up. He returns with his father who is in a major depression. The boy learns of the sin eater from stories told by his grandfather and those in the community. This story
Nov 17, 2015 Joe rated it really liked it
The plot moves somewhat slowly but beautifully. The language, especially the description is poetic and calming. It establishes a timeless setting that many have forgotten, which adds to the potency of the message regarding forgotten story. I thought the actual plot was a little predictable and ho-hum until the last few paragraphs when it all came together for me. That's when this book earned another star.
Melanie Jacobson
Sep 14, 2014 Melanie Jacobson rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book
I'm a huge Gary Schmidt fan, but this wasn't my favorite. His books often move slow, building to a great reward, but this moved slower than usual. I was also really frustrated with the main character's father. But that's a personal thing. From a writing point of view, yeah, slow. But nothing he does is bad, just varying degrees of enjoyable.
Apr 24, 2010 Debbie rated it it was ok
I listened to this book on CD. I don't think I would have continued to read it had that been my only option. This is a story about an unfortunate boy's adventures. I enjoyed that. The twist with the sin eater seemed quite contrived to me.
Nov 13, 2013 Tra-Kay rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrensbooks
When I finished the book, I put it aside and said, "Well, that's it."
"How was it?"
"Oh, more tragedy?"
"No, was a story."
"Oh, an emotional rollercoaster?"
"No. You don't understand. It wasn't 'happy' or 'sad'; it was a story."
Apr 26, 2016 Catherine rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This book was Schmidt's first novel. It is a reminder of why I enjoy his writing. His writing appeals to all the senses.

See full review on my blog.
Mar 03, 2009 Adaire rated it liked it
This book was a quick read, but it took me a while to get into it. It was a nice yet sad story of a boy who discovers his hertitage.

One thing I really like about this author is how descriptive he is. He has a unique was of painting a picture in your mind of what he is describing.
May 13, 2011 Robbie rated it really liked it
SO SAD!!! This book has a moving final scene, but this whole story is sad. And can I just say suicide is the most selfish anyone can ever do!

WARNING: Death galore, Spiritual ending, pagan ideas and all that jazz is in this book so if you can't handle it read it anyway.
Jun 20, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, 2009
Kind of slow at the beginning but picked up in the middle. I expected more suspense and action for some reason. The descriptions of the farm were realistic and well-done. It was a sobering story focusing on family, friendship, and the value/comfort of memories and family history.
May 29, 2009 Dawn rated it really liked it
Had to get through interlibrary loan as our library system didn't own a copy. I think it was his first book (or at least one of his earliest) .... good story, not real groundbreaking as far as subject matter or tone. I found it interesting to see how Schmidt's writing has progressed.
Jun 18, 2008 Kristin rated it liked it
Wow...this book really makes me want to ask Gary Schmidt why his books always have such sadness in them. I really enjoyed this book, the characters were intriguing and fun to get to know. The end leaves you sad and thinking.
Kathleen Kirby Vallejo
Gary Schmidt is a great writer, there's no doubt about that, but this was a bit too depressing for me.
Sep 10, 2015 Brian rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sturggling with loss of mother/father and a lover of stories
Recommended to Brian by: shelf reading
Schmidt is a wonderfully descriptive writer and storyteller. What a delightful read about the tragedy of loss and the healing that comes with stories.
Mary rated it really liked it
May 29, 2012
Becky rated it liked it
Jan 21, 2012
Jeanne rated it it was amazing
Apr 04, 2014
Jessica Vandenberg
Jessica Vandenberg rated it it was amazing
May 20, 2013
Kay Carman
Kay Carman rated it really liked it
Feb 23, 2016
Jason rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2014
Ellen rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2009
Carol rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2008
Kathleen rated it really liked it
Jun 26, 2011
Erica Anne
Erica Anne rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2011
Karen rated it liked it
Jul 12, 2012
Terry Rutherford
Terry Rutherford rated it it was ok
Nov 10, 2012
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Gary D. Schmidt is an American children's writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books. He lives on a farm in Alto, Michigan,with his wife and six children, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, feeds the wild cats that drop by and wishes that sometimes the sea breeze came that far inland. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College.

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