Cornmaven's Reviews > Freeze Frame

Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe
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's review
Apr 16, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: ms-hs, hs-adult
Read in April, 2009

** spoiler alert ** This was a wonderful debut novel for Ayarbe; I will look forward to reading more of her stuff.

At first I was upset that this kid, a film nut, who has apparently just shot his best friend, is trying to hide from the reality by constantly overlaying it and all of the consequences with references to films and scenes from films. But as you read, you can see why he had to do that at the time, and how he changes and shapes his use of film to, by the end, actually deal with the reality.

The only bone I would pick is that, in real life, the kid probably would not have gotten at home probation - he probably would have been put at the least into an in-patient mental health program, and more likely, a juvenile rehab program (especially in Texas). However, that would not have properly advanced the plot, so I accept what Ayarbe chose.

The kid is clearly on a journey to forgiveness and redemption, with a typical but memorable supporting cast to help him. Of course, as a librarian, I LOVED that a key figure was the HS librarian, whose own story is just as compelling as it is slowly revealed. I loved that Kyle discovered things through books that the librarian chose for him, that the discussions about them after he read them were spare but powerful, and helped Kyle put another piece into his puzzle. And this is a kid who until he started hiding in the library had never really read any books.

The whole notion of stories told through images (both still and moving) was handled well. I think a lit class could study this book as well as a photography or film class.

Hope, dreams, and future all figure in as well. There's a lot in the pages. Including stuff about bullying.

Some of my favorite quotes:
"I'd wished that I had a chance to make that day right. It would be so easy if life could be edited." Who hasn't felt that way?

" 'Remember how important it is to get back into life?' Back into life? As if I ever got out of it. That was Jason. Out of breath. Out of time. Out of life." The kid has a point - stuck in the awful moment is still being in life; you can't just 'move on'.

Watches figure into the story pretty strongly. "I stared at the two watches. One stopped at 10:46. The other ticking away, like nothing had ever happened." That notion of time just going on ahead of you, everyone else going on with their business was a pretty powerful force for Kyle at many moments.

"I felt like I carried the secret to who Mr. Cordoba was in my backpack. But I wasn't sure if I wanted to know what that secret was." Kyle's fear of knowing his own secret is peeking through here.

I could go on, but this is getting too long. I stayed up very late to finish this, it was that good.

I have included Middle School in the reading range; this would probably be for more mature ms kids, although the horror of the event might grab even reluctant readers and help them think on a higher plane.

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