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Paranoid Park

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,306 ratings  ·  174 reviews
It was an accident. He didn't mean to kill the security guard with his skateboard - it was self-defense. But there's no one to back up his story. No one even knows he was at Paranoid Park. Should he confess, or can he get away with it? It's an ethical question no one should have to answer.
Writing more intensely than ever before, Blake Nelson delivers a film noir in book fo
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published September 21st 2006 by Viking Books
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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,306 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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Rebecca McNutt
It's difficult to place this book into one genre specifically. In some ways it could fall under noir, but in other ways it's a psychological drama, not to mention a YA novel. Either way, Paranoid Park gives its readers a glimpse into the inner turmoil of a tough kid with a deep secret to hide. He's a lot of things, but most of all he's just confused. This leads him down a darker path than he ever imagined possible. Riveting, evocative and sad, this book probably isn't for everyone but it will sp ...more
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Imagine killing someone and having to deal with it for the rest of your life. How do you think you would feel? Well in the book Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson this kid(never say his name) has the courage to go to a park by himself when his friend Jared decides to go get laid.

When he goes to the park he meets new people which lead him into trouble. When he finds out that he accidentally killed a security guard he is really terrified. He is freaking out, he is clueless. The main character's name i
Jacob Maurer
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Because Blake Nelson was my first HS library book...
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lupe Hernandez
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Personal Response
I really like this book because it talks about a guy that accidentally murdered a police officer and the guy gets really nervous and doesn't want to tell anyone what happened because he doesn't want to go to jail. This book is by far one of my favorite books that I have read. I like how the way of the story is told because it has some interesting parts in the book. It even talks a lot about the characters life and family.
Plot Summary
This book talks about a 16 year old boy who lo
Oct 11, 2008 rated it liked it
I heard about this from Fresh Air, during an interview with the author of this now-movie. It's an epistolary novel of unsent letters, similar to confessions in a diary. The protagonist, a high school boy, accidentally participated in the death of a railyard security guard after visiting the infamous Paranoid skate park in Portland. He spends the rest of the novel paranoid about the results of his actions, questioning his guilt/innocence, who he can trust, and how this will effect the rest of his ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for

If you dare visit Paranoid Park in Portland, Oregon, you will find the Streeters and the Preps. In Blake Nelson's new novel, PARANOID PARK, the reader enters the dark side of the skate park world along with the main character, who happens to be one of the Preps.

Paranoid Park is the nickname for an old skate park being used by the less desirable Streeters. While visiting the park, the main character is dared to jump a train car wit
Apr 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
The unnamed narrator (no, he's not named Alex -- that's the name he was given for the movie, so those of you who keep saying, "Alex, the narrator" and what have you -- well, guess what, you just tipped your hand and I'm going to tell your teachers on all of you, so FEAR ME) accidentally kills a security guard in a train yard and has to live with the aftermath.

Another very fine, well-written YA from Blake Nelson. Nelson maintains tension throughout while still deftly examining the moral issues su
Heather Munao
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: boys, young-adult
This was truly awful writing. Example: the word "stuff" was used 3 times in a single paragraph. And not for effect. There is almost no plot. It is full of every sexist-promoting stereotype you can think of that might fill a boy's head. The thing that could have been best-- skateboarding-- was pretty much non-existent. The main character either felt nothing or cried: no nuance. I don't think even my male students would like this. Really awful book. I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 because the autho ...more
Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
When a Portland, Oregon teenager is involved in the accidental death of a train yard security guard he is plagued with guilt, fear, and confusion about whether or not he should confess. Nelson has a real talent for bringing teen characters to life. The awkwardness of certain situations will have you squirming in your seat, and the dialogue is peppered with phrases like - "nah, she's know" and "I dunno. You know what I mean".
Jorge R
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book its pretty chill because I want to learn more things about skateboarding.I also like this book because it talks about how he hangs out with his friends and what he did before he went to the "PARANOID PARK" and what he thinked off it when he got their. I havent finished this book so I could not talk too much about this book pretty much.
Nov 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this book is about a boy who is a skater and finds himself in a problem when he go's to paranoid park by himself to skate because his friend jarred went out of town. when he go's he mets some exposed people meaning crazy and does anyhting with their life.if u want to find out more about it then go pick it up in the libary
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-reading
I really enjoyed this. Very fast paced and gripping. The descriptions of the narrator's feelings and consciousness were so well executed I actually felt anxious for him.
I had to read this for class so I am quite looking forward to hearing my professor's thoughts on it, and watching the movie adaptation.
The concept of the book was great and unique, and there were some tense moments. Nelson created a wonderful sense of hopelessness for the main character. However, the ending was entirely disappointing and far too easy. Very unsatisfying.
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
I remember reading this book! Just kidding -- I've no idea how it ends. I do remember the beginning/premise, though...
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't care that it kept switching from future to past without much logical reason for switch.
Simão Pedro
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Better than the movie.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this for my internship at a school because the class has to read it, too. When I was in grade 10, which was... I don't know... 2013?... we had talked about this novel, as well. So I thought "Hey, I thought it sounded cool back then, so why not read it now?" And damn, this was good. It was dark, creepy, gory and so emotional. I just loved it in basically read most of it in two days.

The first chapter is pure insanity and when I read it I felt sick because it was so graphic and shocking. Tha
Jean Haberman
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
A high school student recommended this book, so I read it and liked it. I felt compassion for the main character, a high school boy who got himself into a bad situation where he caused a security guard to get run over by a train. He did it in self defense, but was afraid to tell anyone about his horrible secret. The secret festered inside him and he had a hard time functioning. He fell away from his friends and broke up with his girlfriend. If he told someone his secret, what would happen to him ...more
Kenneth Starcher
I first saw Gus Van Sant's film adaptation of this book, when it came out back in 2007. It wasn't until ten years later that I finally read the book. Neither the film nor the book really impressed me. I only read the book because it was short and very easy to read. The book is told in a linear fashion, whereas Gus Van Sant's film is presented out of order. Ultimately, I feel the film is more enjoyable, even if it doesn't explain things very well. The book's linear structure allows the shocking e ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Dec 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-recommended
Nelson, Blake Paranoid Park 180 p. Penguin -

I was hoping I had found another great skater book that I could proudly hand to my boy readers as a great read. Instead, I got a vicious, descriptive attack and death within the first 25 pages and then another 155 pages of coverup and justification without any type of regret, confession or redemption.

And not a single great skateboard scene on any page.

Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
I would place this around a 2.5 or 2.75. I had to read this for a class so I wasn’t too excited to pick it up. The story wasn’t bad, but I didn’t think it was good either. It was an easy and very short read; it was interesting enough to keep me reading (though I have a deadline), but not interesting enough that I would read it again. It wasn’t something I would pick up in the first place.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense, young-adult
Paranoid Park was made into a movie in 2007 and I think this has been on my reading list ever since. Great young adult suspenseful read that will be easy to recommend to our guys especially. An accidental murder by teenagers spirals out of control and changes how they make choices about their futures.
Jocelyn White
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read Paranoid Park a few years after it came out - I was a freshman in high school - and I loved it. It was dark and the internal conflict was just as complicated as the real world issue of homicide and police investigation. It still makes me wonder what would I have done in that situation.
Ryan Sylvia
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a very thrilling book. Not often do I read books, but this one i finished in about 2 days because it pulled me in and was hard to stop reading. This young teen accidentally killed a security guard and it haunted him every day. I very much recommend this book if your in high school and enjoy exciting books.
Brianna Bowers
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blake-nelson
Slightly gruesome part in the beginning considering this is directed toward Youth. Great, short, one-day read for adults.
May 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember the story at all, but I remember not liking it. My mom originally bought this for my brother to read, but as usual, he didn't bother, so I ended up with this. :D
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya
The wrong place, the wrong time, the wrong reaction. What would you do if a split second decision ended in the accidental death of someone else? One boy finds his life in chaos when this happens.
A E Fox
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
The movie inspired me to read it. It wasn't all that I hoped it was, but I am still glad that I read it.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Didn't like it at all!
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Blake Nelson grew up in Portland, Oregon. He began his career writing short humor pieces for Details Magazine.

His first novel GIRL was originally serialized in SASSY magazine and was made into a film staring Selma Blaire and Portia De Rossi.

His novel PARANOID PARK won the prestigious International Grinzane Literary Award and was made into a film by Gus Van Sant.

His most recent Young Adult novel
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“But what were you supposed to do with that weight? Once it was on you? Just be a man? Just suck it up? Maybe you were. Maybe that was the real test. Maybe that is exactly the thing that made you a man: the ability to function with the worst possible secrets in your brain. Which was why so many grown-up men seemed so ridiculous. They never felt that responsibility. They were untested, unproven; they were boys in grown-up clothes.” 6 likes
“I stood there, watching her. The whole world was a dream, I realized. Everyone was acting in a bad soap opera. The whole world was one big FOX TV show.” 4 likes
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