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The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,353 Ratings  ·  280 Reviews
Being a hefty, deaf newcomer almost makes Will Halpin the least popular guy at Coaler High. But when he befriends the only guy less popular than him, the dork-namic duo has the smarts and guts to figure out who knocked off the star quarterback. Will can't hear what's going on, but he's a great observer. So, who did it? And why does that guy talk to his fingers? And will th ...more
Digital Audio, unabridged, 5 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Listening Library (first published February 9th 2010)
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Somewhere around a quarter of the way in, I decided to switch from the audio to the print version of this book. The narrator is actually very good, but hearing him tell me the story out loud just felt wrong.

However, I didn’t really have another audiobook to hold my hand through the torture of morning exercise (read: I only had ten or eleven)…so I just kept listening to this one. And, instead of fast-forwarding, I felt compelled to re-listen to all the words I had just read…with a giant goofy gr
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
Recently I was discussing YA literature with some of my GR friends and I decided to check out my YA shelf. Don't let the low count on my read shelf fool you, I do read quite a bit, but as some of you might know (and many of you don't) I only rate and review books that I actually finished, the ones I do not finish I simply delete from my shelves. Now, sometimes I will make myself finish a book even though it's a definite wall-banger, that way I can really appreciate a well written or a great writ ...more
Reading Sarah
Will Halpin decides to opt out of the political issues at his deaf school and go mainstream. At the mainstream school he will have to use his lipreading skills to get by, but he doesn't mind because his ability allows him to drop some eaves on other people's conversations. In the first week he finds himself in love with the most popular girl in school, but on the bottom run of the social ladder. By the second week a mysterious death of a student (in the very coal mine where one of Will's long lo ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

Looking for a wacky adventure? Get your hands on a copy of THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN. I'll admit I was attracted by the title, thinking it sounded like a "good time" read, and I wasn't disappointed.

Will Halpin is embarking on a new and sort of terrifying journey. Will is deaf and has spent his educational years attending a special school for the deaf. He has recently made the decision to enroll in public high school. In addi
Does imagining a fat, deaf, sarcastic version of a
Hardy Boy make you giggle on the inside??
Yeah, me too.


Meet Will Halpin, your overweight, hungry, smart-mouthed deaf kid who is not playing the sympathy card and his new friend, Devon (a/k/a Smileyman). There has been a murder in the old coal mines of their town. A Jerk-Jock has been pushed! Hamburger Halpin and Smiley are on the case... sort of. With the help of a few friends they are determined (sort of, mostly Smiley) to figure out wh
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fat-friendly-ya
I loved this. Will's decision to move from a deaf school to the local public high school is one that puts him at odds with many of his deaf friends, and leaves him quite adrift in a school that doesn't seem to be making much effort to help him cope. So now he's the fat newcomer who's also the only deaf student - more than a lot to deal with. But the book is funny, Will is a great character, and when he makes his first friend, the book veers into Hardy Boys mystery territory in a way I found deli ...more
Aug 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(My reviews are intended for my own info as a language arts teacher: they serve as notes and reflections for teaching and recommending to students. Therefore, spoilers may be present but will be hidden.)

SUMMARY: Josh Berk's YA novel is a blend of mystery, realistic fiction, and awareness about what it is like to be hearing impaired. Will Halpin, a recently main-streamed deaf high school student, serves as the protagonist. The first half of the book details Will's adjustment to a "regular" high s
Will Halpin is taking a serious leap - from a Deaf School into a "Mainstream" School. Because of his excellent lipreading skills as well as his detestation for his hearing aids, Will lives in a silent world. This does NOT make it easy to fit into a gossip-filled, loud and chaotic high school. It also doesn't help that he's, uh, hefty. Plumpish. Big boned.

But he does it. He goes to class and is more than a little bit observant of his peers - his snarky and sometimes hilarious notebook slowly begi
This book gets a big plus for being different. You often don't find a teen book about a very likeable overweight guy. He is very jokey and I liked the side kick Devin.

It was a bit of a slog with all the texting and my daughter found it a bit too descriptive and slow so she put it down. It seemed like something she might be able to relate to since her husband is hard of hearing. I wonder how deaf students will react to the story. It would be good to hear reviews from deaf kids that have been mai
Kate Stericker
In general, I was impressed with this book. It's always great to see YA novels combine seemingly disparate plotlines in interesting ways--in this case, the story of a Deaf boy transitioning into a mainstream high school and the story of the same boy solving the murder of a classmate combine to make a fascinating, multi-layered novel. However, an element that really grated on me was the way Will was handled as a fat character. Will's narration has an irreverent, humorous tone, which is generally ...more
Elaine Tolbert
Eh. That's about it. Eh.
Mai-lis Meehan
Jul 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am utterly disappointed in The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, a young adult book where a deaf character who signs FINALLY has center stage. And it's a murder mystery to boot? Even better! No. Not better. Awful.

Unfortunately, Dark Days is culturally inaccurate and presents a hearing-centric perspective through a deaf character. Josh Berk's passing knowledge of sign language, Deaf Culture, the major contentions within this culture, and experiences of growing up deaf give him just enough material
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have
A story of why i bought this book:

I was t a YA Festival in which I had not heard of any of the authors. Josh Berk was there signing books and wearing what can only be described as a really quality jacket. It was velvet, red and had a pocket in the front for a pipe which he only carried because his jacket had a pocket for it.I took one look at this guy and said to myself, " he makes good life choices." I then proceeded to buy his boo, to get it signed just so i could have a conversation with this
Will Halpin, deaf and overweight, starts his year at a new, mainstream school without knowing what he's really getting into. He's a good lip reader, but the teachers never remember to face him so he doesn't know what's going on in class, except that his sexy math teacher is flirting with the obnoxious football player who is holding party invitations over everyone's head like a mark of popularity. The kids basically ignore Will except when they're laughing at him (though he can't tell why), thoug ...more
Liza Gilbert
Will Halpin is a deaf teenager who moves from a deaf-only school to a public school. He hopes to make it work through his gift for lip-reading. Halpin also believes he's overweight.

Berk acknowledges having spent considerable effort on making sure the sections about deafness were politically correct and accurate to the real experience. He was sensitive.

However, his main character is a completely rude SOB who consistently makes fun of others, gives them horrible names, and makes fat jokes througho
Amy Nielsen
This book was not really what I thought it would be. It's a mystery...I don't usually go down for mysteries. But the reviews intrigued me and I needed a book on my phone to listen to as I fall asleep so I downloaded it.

What I really liked was the main character, Will (Hamburger Helpin)'s, humor. Wry humor eventually gets so on my nerves but his wasn't too wry but rather felt authentic and a little snarky. I don't normally like first person narration but this was very entertaining and not in the
Jan 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren  Librarian
This is everything a young adult book should be! While communicating moral issues and addressing uncomfortable topics of equality for special needs students (the main character is very deaf), this book is incredibly cool, entertaining, and is written well! The main character has that disconnected sarcastic tone that one might use after being shunned by mainstream society, but manages to find his niche in fit in well after some adjustments.

After some introductions of the main character Will alon
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: male, mystery, humor
Will Halpin is deaf and like The Curious Incident of a Dog in Night-Time, Will is insistent he help solve a crime where his disability is supposed to help him. It's an odd-ish mystery and more tongue-in-cheek that truly serious (though the crime of murder is!) On a school visit to a coal mine, a boy whose father is accused of bad business, dies at the bottom of the mine shaft. Told through his first-person narration, his notebook ramblings, and his IM and texts to a friend, Will is navigating th ...more
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will Halpin has decided to leave his deaf school and attend the local high school. It is a hard transition, but when one of his classmates is killed during a field trip to a coal mine, he and his friends may be the only possibility of finding the killer.

I loved this book! Will's voice is funny and refreshing. I do love a smart protagonist with loads of wit and sarcasm! And while Devon is definitely dorky, his is also both believable and charming. Berk even makes the school bullies more than just
I found myself truly enjoying the main character Will Halpin and his observations of the high school hearing world around him. Will, a large and congenial type of 16 yr. old boy, has transferred to the public high school from his deaf school without benefit of an interpreter. Enter Devon Smiley the only other kid who knows sign language and who is on the same popularity level as the new overweight deaf kid. On a field trip to the local coal mine Pat Chambers, the most popular football player in ...more
Since I like to know as little as possible before I start reading a book, I failed to read the back cover of the book before I started reading. At first, I thought this book was going to be about kids with disabilities and bullying, and then around page 100 my idea of this book changed. Turns out it is and it isn't. Will "Hamburger" Halpin transfer to a mainstream high school from a deaf high school during his junior year. As he tries to navigate the social and academic world of high school, he ...more
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I wonder what it's like to be a guy. I figure Nick Hornby is pretty authoritative on the subject of adult guys, so I look to him for insight. Then I discovered Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid series, so now I have a pretty good idea what it's like to be a 12-year-old boy.

When I heard my husband cracking up, literally bringing himself to tears he was laughing so hard, I checked out what he was reading. It was then I knew that Josh Berk was going to be my key to the mind of the teenage boy.

The D
3.5 stars. Will Halpin is not only deaf but also overweight, so he knows that the transfer from his all-deaf school to a public high school won't be easy--and he's right. Luckily, Will is a keen observer with a funny internal monologue.

When the most popular and powerful guy in school dies under suspicious circumstances during a school field trip, Will and Devon, his single friend at his new school, decide to get to the bottom of the mystery, Hardy Boys-style.

The mystery part doesn't kick in unt
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will (nickname: Hamburger)is a deaf kid trying out mainstream school for the first time. He is a funny narrator who gives his classmates nicknames that only he knows. Will keeps a notebook where he writes down his impressions of the other students he encounters. Observing the feelings and motives of other people is one of his talents, even though he can't hear them. The sudden death of a classmate rattles his school, and Will teams up with his new friend, Devon, to figure out what happened. They ...more
I had high hopes for this teen mystery with a deaf main protagonist, but it never really took off as I read it. Will Halpin is the best thing about this book -- he's a likable, affable narrator who chronicles his transition from a deaf school to public school. The mystery aspect is not very rewarding, though it does allow author Berk to showcase some funny exchanges between "Hardy boys" Halpin and fellow outcast Smiley. I also liked how Berk brought in the aspect of deaf culture and pride. Ultim ...more
Shaun Hutchinson
Just the right mix of comedy and sincerity. I knew kids like Devon Smiley in HS. Sadly, I'm pretty sure I spent most of my time mocking them. Nobody's perfect , but DDHH is pretty close.
A little growing up. A little mystery. But not gripping or thought provoking.
Paula Gallagher
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally, another authentically-voiced guy book to recommend. And it's funny, in a laugh out loud and share a line funny.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bought this book for my 12 year old for a class reading assignment. They had to have a mystery. Most of the teen mystery books are all Twlight style...NOTHING he would have been interested in OR they are pretty racey - too advanced for my liking. This sounded interesting and the reviews were good. I opened it when it came, read the first couple pages just to see what it was like. I was hooked almost immediately. I read it in two days - just couldn't put it down and was sad when it was over! The ...more
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The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin will be released on February 9, 2010.

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
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