Eric lacks the courage to end his association with troublemaker Marty, even when Marty abuses a homeless jazz musician and instigates other serious pranks.
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Grade 7-10-- Sophomore Eric Atwater grapples with peer pressure and his conscience in this realistic first novel. When Marty Benbow enters Emerson High, his swagger and antiestablishment demeanor attract a group of undistinguished boys, including Eric. To maintain his notoriety and leadership, Marty orchestrates escapades that disrupt the school, and he and the boys offer bogus friendship to homeless Ole. However, when Eric makes some independent decisions, he is ostracized by Marty and the other boys. In a climactic moment of coercion, he realizes that Marty's ``disappearing band instrument'' prank is truly a crime. Believable characters, realistic dialogue, and smooth plot foreshadowing render a thought-provoking story of a teenage perpetrator and his accomplices. Readers will recognize Marty as a fellow classmate with an unknown background and a peculiar negative charisma. Eric, however, will be more familiar--unsure, eager to be accepted, and torn between right and wrong. Although the school principal and band director are portrayed as pompous and unsympathetic, the adult wisdom of Eric's frustrated father and tortured Ole prompt Eric to reassess the meaning of friendship and integrity. --Gerry Larson, Chewning Junior High School, Durham, NC
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In a well-knit but predictable first novel, Eric (15) is snared by a manipulative classmate and struggles to break free. Four months after transferring to Emerson High, Marty Benbow has gathered a band of sycophants, eager to follow his lead in verbally harassing some hapless victim or playing an escalating series of pranks. Though Eric finds being with the ``Benbow Boys'' less and less entertaining, Marty plays him like a fish on a line, at last persuading him to help steal a load of musical instruments from the band room. Fortunately, Johnson doesn't drag in a plethora of topical issues; there's no violence, substance abuse, or (beyond Marty's clear contempt for everyone) psychological disorder, though Eric does meet a homeless man (portrayed as a victim of his own choices). In traditional YA-lit fashion, all teachers are hateful or laughable and parents have no idea what's going on. In the end, Eric's job, plus new girlfriend, pumps up his self-esteem; he turns himself in (and receives minor punishment) after Marty is caught by police. Not much danger here, but a fair amount of dramatic tension and soul-searching. (Fiction. 13+) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Atheneum, 1992. Book Condition: Good. 1st ed. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP93338059
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. Library Binding. Book Condition: Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Light shelving wear with minimal damage to cover and bindings. Pages show minor use. Bookseller Inventory # G0689315201I3N10
Book Description Atheneum. Library Binding. Book Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, thatâ€™ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Bookseller Inventory # 2589021381
Book Description Atheneum, 1992. Library Binding. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0689315201