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Double Negative

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  30 reviews
"My life was going, going, gone, and I hadn't been laid yet. I couldn't go into the slammer before that happened." Hutch McQueen.

Sixteen-year-old Hutchinson McQueen is trapped in a dysfunctional family. Shackled by poor vision and poor reading skills, he squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. After another suspension from s
Paperback, 258 pages
Published July 25th 2014 by Evernight Teen (first published July 24th 2014)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  47 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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T.B. Markinson
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is such a wonderful read. Hutch McQueen is the type of reader I want to hug at one moment and then talk some sense into the next. He hasn’t had it easy and on top of that, he’s going through all the stuff teens go through. And he feels alone. However right when he reaches his lowest point, he starts to make friends and to find mentors. Through these relationships he finds out he matters and that the choices he makes will affect the re
Chrys Fey
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hutch is always in the wrong place at the wrong time and making the wrong decisions time and time again. He is stuck with an abusive, neglectful mother while his dad is hauling a big rig from here to there. He struggles with school work, steals food because he's hungry, gets arrested, and receives second chances. Through this story we see him grow and decide to swim rather than sink. He learns from those around him and develops a sense of normalcy.

My favorite characters were Nyla and Maggie. All
Lynda Dietz
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in two sittings because frankly, I didn’t want to put it down once I got going. Hutch’s story is written in such a believable way that I really felt as if I were in a teenage boy’s head.

Hutch has a life that’s far from ideal, and even when things go his way, the good part doesn’t last long before he’s in trouble again for something he did—or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time so he’s assumed guilty even when he’s not.

Fortunately, he ends up with a mentor in his li
Beverly McClure
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If life were fair, all children would have parents that loved and cared for them. Parents that helped them with their homework, made sure they had good food, and who listened to their troubles. Unfortunately, the world does not work that way. Many children’s mothers or fathers or both are drunkards, abusers, neglecters, and they just don’t care about their young ones.

Author C. Lee McKenzie’s YA novel, DOUBLE NEGATIVE, is the story of sixteen-year-old Hutch McQueen, one of the kids that gets by t
J. Dorner
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I'm a "Catcher In The Rye" fan, so mentioning Holden Caulfield instantly wins bonus points with me! And I'm from PA, so the mention of Hershey's candy gets my chocolate heart all melty. But that's stuff that appeals to me, personally.

The characters are all written and developed with care. The reader is smack dab inside Hutch's messed-up head. He's a kid with problems. (Drunk, abusive mom, absentee dad, poverty and hunger, reading issues largely due to a need for eyeg
Medeia Sharif
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hutch McQueen is a young man with an abusive mother and absentee father. He’s in and out of the courtroom as he lands in legal trouble. Also, he's not a star student since he has problems with his eyesight and lacks reading skills.

He’s not alone, though. There’s Father Kerry, who wants to take him in and help him. Maggie, a woman stricken with Alzheimer’s, assists him with both reading and character development. Nyla is a bullied girl who helps Hutch study in return for watching her back—this de
Cathrina Constantine
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book by the prolific author, C. Lee. McKenzie that I've had the pleasure of reading and it won't be the last.

I'm significantly impressed by Ms. McKenzie's young adult voice. It's right on. I admit it was difficult to read at first due to the Double Negatives. And then I found myself devouring those passages, mainly because the voice sounded vaguely familiar, like my own as a kid.
"I ain't got no money."
Hutch McQueen, born to a dysfunctional family, and just trying to get by can'
Yvonne Ventresca
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
Double Negative features a main character, Hutch, who struggles with high school (and the double negatives of grammar) along with the more serious problem of having an absent father and an abusive mother. The lack of parental supervision and any loving care forms a different type of double negative he must overcome. Desperate enough to steal rather than starve, Hutch makes a series of choices that will land him in jail unless he accepts help from a reformed-delinquent-turned priest and a retired ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recognize the troubled persona because there is a Hutch McQueen in almost every class I teach.
The impact that people like Father Kerry and Maggie Scott have on the lives of these kids cannot be measured. The world needs more Father Kerrys and Maggie Scotts.
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
I could tell within pages that this book was pure genius and it only became more apparent the deeper I was pulled into the story. I devoured it as quickly as I could… and now it’s over! :( I wish there was some way that it could be a series, just so I could have more! I have already been perusing the author’s other works, debating over which one to read next.

The best part about this book was the progression, not just of the characters, but of the writing style. It literally shifts throughout the
Darby Karchut
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
C. Lee McKenzie cannot write a bad book. Her style is so lyrical and her teen “voice” in this one is so perfect that I had serious author envy the entire time I was reading. I loved all her other books, but this one is her best work yet. Hutch is a character that is so real and has so much depth, that I devoured his story in two nights. Without giving away the plot, let me say that Hutch is the poster child for so many students who struggle with crappy home lives and difficulties in school (in H ...more
Christine Rains
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hutchinson McQueen's mom is a drunk and his father is always on the road. But being sixteen, he's stuck with them until he's old enough to go his own way. Barely squeaking by in school, Hutch is caught at the wrong place at the wrong time and he's sentenced to six month in a new juvenile program. The priest and the forgetful old woman infuriate him, but they start him on a journey that will change his life forever. Whether that be good or bad is up to Hutch.

I usually don't read YA contemporaries
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When we meet Hutchinson "Hutch" McQueen in C. Lee McKenzie's Double Negative (Evernight Teen 2014), he seems like a typical hopeless juvenile delinquent. He cares nothing about school, hangs out with the wrong people, and is always in trouble. Good riddance--right? Then we find out his mother hates him whether she's drunk or not. She beats him, threatens him, and blames him for her problems. His truckdriver father is kind enough but never home. Besides two parents who barely have time for him, i ...more
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another good book from C. Lee. It’s important for young adults to know that adversity is part of life’s journey. That adversity is a better teacher than good fortune. That adversity brings with it the development of new skills and new friends. In other words it’s a source of growth and development.
Double Negative is a book I will recommend to all the young adults in my extended family of relatives and friends. Especially when I hear them complain that life is not fair. The story of the hero, Hut
Kate Larkindale
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are lots of kids out there like Hutch, the main character in this book. But unlike Hutch, not all of them manage to turn their lives around.

This is an inspirational story about how you can change, rise above the circumstances that seem certain to condemn you to a future as bleak as your present.

I enjoyed it very much and believe anyone who can make a difference to someone’s life should take that chance. Sometimes all it takes is a single word.
Lloyd Russell
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Everybody knows how much I like C. Lee McKenzie. The 1st one I read, The Princess of Las Pulgas, was great. The 2nd one, Sliding on the Edge, wasn't far behind. And now we have Double Negative. And speaking of negative, if I tell you that it's my least favorite of the 3, don't take that the wrong way. I still liked it quite a bit. Lee is in that fairly slim category of authors for me where I like all of their work. And in a situation like that, obviously you will have your favorites. So now that ...more
Tbird London
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this book really touched me since I use to work with kids such as Hutch. Those that don’t come from supportive and nurturing homes have never been taught social skills nor had their confidence built. Just like Hutch, they come from families where the father is absent and the mother is abusive. The only thing they learn at home is survival.

Hutch was a high school student who faces this kind of home life every day and then goes to high school and struggles with his school work. You see he
Jennifer Juers
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it

Double Negative by C Lee McKenzie is a story about a sixteen year old boy, Hutch McQueen, who's growing up with parents who are apart. His dad is a trucker and his mom is a drunk and possibly a whore. He cannot read well so he has a fellow student that he relies on to read the chapters to him so that he can memorize them for tests. He's also a very good listener. He just wants to pass, nothing over the top. Just to get his parents off of his back.

He has made s
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
4.5 stars

I wouldn't call Hutch a troubled boy, then rather say he's drowning. A drunk mom who doesn't want him, a dad who's always on the road and teachers who have no clue how to reach him. Hutch just knows that he wants out, but doesn't see the purpose of a high school diploma or doing his best. So far he's been cruising along by listening to the smart people around him and with the help of his friend Nyla.

When his friends and his home situation put him in trouble with the law, it seems his st
The Pink Bookshelf
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hutch McQueen is known as a trouble maker. Hutch is trapped in a very broken and unfit family. His father can’t stand to be in one place too long so he is constantly on the road with his rig and his mother is a drunk. Hutch wants nothing more than to escape from the hole he’s trapped in. Problem is everything he does to try to dig himself out of this hole only gets him into more trouble. Unable to overcome poor reading skills, he barely gets by in school by listening to others and memorizing bit ...more
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This novel focuses on the despair of a teenager running in the same circles his parents did. Although he wants to break free from their failures, he finds himself joining them in a slow descent.
Hutch, the protagonist, has an inability to read or seek help for any of his problems. He prefers being on his own and letting the pieces fall as they may; until he gets into some serious trouble. Now, he has to attend a meeting with other troubled students and a Priest who shared the same path as them at
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
I received this book from Xpresso Book Tours as part of their blog tour, in return for a fair and honest review.

Wow, this book packs a punch in more ways than one. It is tough and gritty and doesn't spare your feelings as you read through. You will be neck deep in teenage angst, abuse, drugs, body issues, bullying but also friendships, teamwork and mentorship. This book covers it all and in such a way that you won't be able to stop turning the pages. You will need to read "just a little bit more
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wow! I just finished Double Negative five minutes ago, and now I'm sorting through that after the book "wow" moment.

C. Lee Mckenzie knows how to portray real people with real problems in real conversations and situations in a way that reels readers in and then takes them on an incredibly journey of the heart and mind.

Hutch is a gritty, attitude-filled teen with problems. At first, I was hesitant to go on a journey with him. He's tough and almost unlikeable until he shows his heart of gold undern
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Double Negative turns out to be a double positive: for Hutch McQueen, who finally gets himself on the right path and for Maggie Scott, who, despite an Alzheimer's diagnosis, is instrumental in Hutch's reversal of bad habits and behavior.

Once again, C Lee McKenzie spins a tale of young adults presented with problems typical of their age — bullies, lack of self-confidence -- and not so typical -- dyslexia, eating disorders, and absent parents. She guides Hutch, Nyla, Wang, and Meeker to solve the
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it

I won this book in a give-away and it seems to have been sent straight from the author. Thanks for that.

As for the book itself, it tells a story as it happens all too often — a lost teenager, borderline abusive-neglective parents, no way out except for drug dealing and the like — with an ending that is happier than many but still plausible enough.

Narration is strictly stream of consciousness from the perspective of Hutch, the main character, which feels authentic and flows easily, but leaves th
Bish Denham
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having worked with abused, neglected, and emotionally disturbed children for 23 years, Hutch's story is familiar and all too real. He is, at first, not a very likable character, but one can certainly sympathize with him. He has an alcoholic mother, an absent father, and no one to turn to except other kids who are basically in the same boat. On top of that, he hates school.

What I found most endearing is that even though Hutch acts and sounds like a mean tough, underneath lurks a naive and tender
Dunja *a chain reader*
4.5 stars

Double Negative is just amazing. Reading it felt like being on emotional roller-coaster.

So this is a story about Hutchinson McQueen and a group of teens who end up in the special program with him. All main characters are underdogs and although 16 years old they have seen and been through enough bad things. Their choices are limited and due to that these kids are forced to make bad choices and moves...

Full review available on Night Owl Reviews
Leigh-ann Brodber
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Hutchinson McQueen in Double Negative is far different compared to the rest of characters in any other hard-hitting novel I’ve read so far. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t sound like any of the other characters from other novels but, instead, like a real person who was recounting his success story. I still held my breath at parts where it seemed as if Hutch was going to get hit with the book and make friends with the kids in Juvie but he always seemed to have someone by his side that would throw h ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Actual Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
Ahh, I did love this book <3 Admittedly, it didn't start out that way, but by the time I was about halfway through I adored everything about it: plot, charries, writing, everything. Particularly Nyla and Maggie. They were boss <3
If you'd like to read more of my thoughts on this book, you can find the full review on Verbosity Reviews.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book for free in exchange for a fair review. Thanks so much!

Wow. This is a great coming of age novel. There are a lot of summaries on here, so I'll just say that if you are interested in YA/coming of age, this book is definitely worth your time. I could actually see it becoming a required reading in schools.
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In my other life--the one before I began writing for teens and younger readers--I was a teacher and administrator at California State University, San Jose. My field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communication has carried me to a lot of places in the world to explore different cultures and la

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