Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review: Blank Confession (Pete Hautman)

Title: Blank Confession
Author: Pete Hautman
Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 170
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this from my school library
Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Shayne Blank walks into the police station and confesses to having killed someone. How could the quiet, unassuming new kid in town be a murderer? It's hard to believe, but as Shayne tells his story, Detective Rawls is forced to face the reality that Shayne may be more--a lot more--than he seems. But who is he?

Review: This book is just what I needed after my last book took me a week to finish! This is a quick YA read that keeps the reader turning the pages to find out what Shayne is all about, who he killed, and how it all happened.

Shayne is new to town and immediately befriends Mikey, a small high school student who wears suits that he buys at thrift stores. The story is told through the eyes of both boys, Mikey as he relays events as he sees them and Shayne as he tells Detective Rawls how and why he killed someone. The question is: who did he kill and how did he do it? Why the person was killed isn't such a mystery as the story unfolds.

This is a book that deals with bullies and peer pressure, but like other good books in this genre, the story isn't preachy and high school students will feel pulled into the characters and plot without feeling like an adult is telling them what to do and how to behave. The issues of drugs, peer pressure, and what is the right thing to do are also present and effective.

Shayne is a great character because he is outside the main group at this high school. Since he is new he has a vantage point from which he can see what's really going on while those in the events are caught up in the history of one another. As the new kid, Shayne can befriend various factions and really "see" the issues clearly, allowing the reader insights to each character's actions and personality.

The description on the inside flap of this book suggests that Shayne cannot be a murderer and that's a great tone to set for the book. It makes the reader question what Shayne is saying to Detective Rawls until the very last few pages of the book.
Geography Connection

Click to see my updated Google Map. We are never told where this book takes place and I guess it really doesn't matter. I found myself picturing the school and town where I work, which gives the book a more personal feeling.

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