Saturday, January 07, 2006

When Jeff Comes Home, by Catherine Atkins

At the age of 14, Jeff is a rising baseball star, revered older brother, and the jewel in his father's eyes, but then he is kidnapped and held captive for two and a half years. When he returns "home" to his family, he has to learn to come to grips with what he lost and what he has become. And his family must also learn that his return is only the beginning of a long recovery.

A gripping and unusual story. Not as strong as Atkins's later writing, but original and compelling. There are no simple solutions and no punches pulled (although I am personally a bit maddened that the family never seeks professional counseling!). In some ways, the lack of easy answers makes the story a bit harder (and more mature) than even YA lit usually is. Definitely for older readers, but a book for everyone to talk about.

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