Patrick's Reviews > Deadline

Deadline by Chris Crutcher
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's review
Dec 09, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: mock-printz-2007
Read in December, 2007

The good news is this is a great novel about life, death, and the truth that lies in between. The voice of Ben is very strong: smart, sarcastic, and always searching for truth. The story itself is just fine as well with all the elements one expects in a Crutcher novel: the not quite perfect romance, the sports angle, the distant slightly tortured parents, the helpful if overmatched therapist, and the school based subplot with good guy hero standing up against bad guy teacher. Ben's journey is that of every teen about belonging , asking big questions, and finding the answers are never clear even if you have coaches, brothers, friends, or lovers. Ben's death comes suddenly after so much of the shows his life, and yet even though you know exactly what's going to happen, it is heartbreaking: the image of Ben resting his head on his girl and saying it's better than sex, well, that's just about perfect and tear inducing.

Now, the bad news. There's a bumpy flaw to the epilogue: the book's been told in Ben's voice, but he's dead, so it just feels disjointed even if the bulk of the final chapter is a letter. There's a lot of death in this small town of Trout, and the sudden demise of one character in an auto accident is jarring, not in a good way. Throughout Ben, and some of the other characters, break out into speeches that while you cheer them because they say the "right things", it is sometimes just too much, and is the dialogue with Hey Soos. Minor points, but worth noting.

Finally, the good news and bad news combined. This reads like Crutcher mix tape. He even brings back characters from Running Loose (Boomer and Louie), and Dallas could have dropped out of Chinese Handcuffs. The side characters -- parents, brothers, friends, enemies, - we've seen most of them before in previous books. Not that any of this is a bad thing. It is a enjoyable and emotional read because Crutcher knows exactly what buttons to push with readers, both teen and adults. If it was a concert, I'd be flicking my lighter after the last chapter knowing I've seen one of my favorites, and damn my writing role models, kick out a great set not loaded with lots of new material (save the premise) but instead playing those great riffs we've come to love.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Love the bit about flicking your lighter at a concert -- that's dead on.

Meaghan Crutcher's books always seem the same to me. In a nutshell: Ludicrously well-adjusted athletic teen overcomes adversity and kicks some bigoted, probably child-abusing adult antagonists's ass with the help of some ludicrously well-adjusted teen friends and some uber-cool and wise grownups.

Audrey W This review is dead-on, I loved this book so much that I've read it ten times! It just never gets old..

message 4: by Will (new)

Will West Your review is just about perfect, which Hey Soos would probably disagree with, because in his opinion, nothing is perfect. But I agree with you almost completely. My only argument would be on your comment about the change from Ben's direct voice to that of his letter. Personally, I appreciated Crutcher's decision to end with that. It provided closure and although sad that Ben passed on, the end left me with a warm feeling, especially Dallas and Cody talking about moving in together and how it is something Ben would want. Just my thoughts. I'd love to hear anybody's opinion.

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