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Blood Brother
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Gr 7 Up-Will, a musically gifted teen, is making his mark in a semiprofessional Chicago band. He is saddled with an abusive older brother who torments him and who, despite bottomless remorse, continues to commit stupid acts and crimes that create ongoing chaos and challenges for his family. Writing in a journal of sorts, Will tells his story in colloquial language, describing his futile crush on Amanda and the outrageous behavior of the adult band members who create a cult following as Kiss Forever, which both memorializes and satirizes the infamous band Kiss. Loving parents and understanding school and police officials try everything with Jason, and Will even gets him a job with the band, but Jason continues on his self-destructive path. The seemingly final blow happens when he has a car accident in which their younger sister sustains permanent, crippling injuries. Does Jason finally learn? No. Do Will and his parents ever wash their hands of him? No. Is there hope for Jason changing? No. Sadly, the characters are as flat as the ending, making it difficult to believe or care what happens, and the journal device works only erratically. Readers wait for some insight or resolution that clarifies the relationships and brings the challenges alive, but they aren't forthcoming.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

When 16-year old Will offers his troublemaker brother a gig with his band, a chain of events changes the siblings' lives. "Will's authentic voice grounds the novel, and readers will get a strong sense of him, from awkward conversations with his crush to his complicated feelings for his brother," said PW. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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