Though fifteen-year Finn's badly burned hand and broken leg are healing, the traumatic effects of the small-plane crash that killed his parents and sister have left him unable to speak. Psychiatrists have told Finn that to regain the power of speech he must relive each step of the tragedy. Now living with his grandmother on her Vermont farm where he has vacationed all his life and which he loves, he cannot make himself face the horrors of the fatal accident.
Renewing his friendship with Julia, nearly fourteen, helps. A nearby neighbor, she comes each day to train Gran's new filly. Together, they discover animal -- half wolf, half dog -- living wild in a dense pine forest on the farm, and it slowly begins to trust Finn after he rescues it from a trap. The routine of their lives is jolted when Finn and Julia discover that drug dealers are using an abandoned dry well in the forest as a, drop for their supplies. Then one day, when Julia is away for a week, Finn finds a packet of cocaine carelessly dropped by a local pusher. Should he try it to gain escape from the torment of his memories? And can he and Julia save the wolf dog that is wrongly suspected of killing sheep?
As the hot, dry summer nears its end, tension builds almost unbearably, sweeping the reader along to the riveting climax of the unforgettable novel.
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A suspense story without much suspense, constructed from disparate elements that never quite mesh. Injured physically and emotionally in the small plane crash that killed the rest of his family, Finn, 15, moves in with his Vermont grandmother; mu te and angry, he becomes a project for Julia, a younger friend from past summers who has been training one of the farm's horses for shows. Nearby, a wood lot not only has become home for a family of coyotes and a wolf-dog named Toq, but also a drop for a local ring of drug dealers. While Finn recalls details of the crash piecemeal and works his way out from under a huge load of guilt, he and Julia become close, the coyotes stage raids on several farms, the teenagers help Toq escape a trap and are later re paid in kind, and one of the dealers becomes a desperate, pitiful cocaine addict who meets a horrible end. After literally riding through fire and storm to rescue Julia from the bottom of a well, Finn experiences a breakthrough, and regains his voice. The author creates some tension by continually shifting the point of view among the human and animal characters, though without a unifying climax; Bacon never brings everyone face to face and their subplots trail away unresolved. Bits and pieces of the narra tive, especially those involving horses, other animals, and descriptions of the farm, are well-crafted, holding out a promise of a story telling that is never realized. (Fiction. 12-14) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reser ved.From Publishers Weekly:
Beginning just after a fatal airplane crash and ending shortly after a nearly disastrous forest fire, this tense novel about a teenage survivor will attract both adventure buffs and fans of psychological drama. When 15-year-old Finn moves to his grandmother's (Gram's) farm in Vermont, his severe injuries, resulting from a plane crash that killed the rest of his family, are no more painful than his emotional turmoil. Although his therapist insists he must "walk through" each step of the tragic accident in order to recover his power of speech (he suffers from posttraumatic mutism), Finn consciously attempts to shut out recurring, horrific memories. Finn's misery lessens when his sister's friend Julia, an accomplished equestrian and dancer, enters the scene. Together, the pair befriend a wolf-dog blamed for recent sheep slayings, and happen upon a stash of cocaine left in a well on Gram's property by a ring of drug dealers. When Julia is caught by one of them, Finn is forced to take action. Bacon's (Pip and Emma; Shadow and Light) less than subtle writing leaves little to the imagination (e.g., "From years of watching TV and reading mystery novels Julia knew that witnesses to crime were doomed"), but her montage of heart-racing scenes and complex rendering of Finn will keep the pages turning. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Margaret K. McElderry, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110689822162