Sixteen-year-old Dain Harrington knows there is one thing he’s good at, and that’s lobstering. It’s something he feels he can rely on, even though his father died in a storm at sea while fishing. During the summer before his senior year, Dain has good luck fishing his traps, until someone starts cutting them. Someone wants him off the water. And so begins a lobster war. Dain suspects Roger Gribbin, the local tough guy, who happens to be a friend of Dain’s elusive brother, Eddie. Looking for advice and answers, Dain finally tracks Eddie down and asks him some pointed questions: Who is cutting his traps? Should he get off the water? Why is this happening to him? To Dain’s shock and ultimate disappointment, Eddie’s answers are evasive and unsettling. As heavy fog rolls in, the landscape that Dain knows so well seems less clear than before. He wonders if the same thing is happening with his life, especially with Eddie, who is drifting farther and farther away. A dramatic ocean rescue provides the moving climax to this eloquent first novel set on the rugged Maine coast.
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Gr 6-8-Living on the coast of Maine with his widowed mother and his older brother, Eddie, 16-year-old Dain Harrington is determined to be a lobsterman like his dad. Although his father died in a storm and Dain himself fears the darkness of the sea, pulling traps in his father's boat helps him escape from his mother's pressure to fill out college applications and his brother's drinking and fighting. The boys used to do everything together, so Dain is heartbroken when he finds that Eddie and his friend Roger have been cutting his lobster traps. He won't, however, retaliate by cutting Roger's traps and escalating the situation into a lobster war. In fact, he figuratively turns the other cheek, rescuing the older boys in a climactic storm. The heavy fog, unusual for August, which hovers over the bay, reflects Dain's uncertainty about his future. As the fog lifts at the end of this coming-of-age novel, he realizes that change is inevitable and that he has options. Howland does a good job of conveying a sense of place as well as information on lobstering. The metaphorical aspect of the fog is a bit thick and some subplots weaken an otherwise fine look at a young man's struggle with choices, allegiances, family, and growing up along the Maine coast.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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Gr. 6-9. Teenage brothers cross the threshold into adulthood but take different paths in this atmospheric first novel, set on the Maine coast. Dain is stubbornly determined to follow in his lobsterman father's footsteps; even though his father drowned, he himself is afraid of the water, his mother is pressuring him to go to college, and an unknown competitor is cutting his traplines. Meanwhile, it's getting harder and harder to justify his hero worship for big brother Eddie, a dropout who has taken to hanging out with a bad crowd. Dain's admiration and his career plans take a heavy hit when he discovers that Eddie is the saboteur. Howland writes evocatively of lobstering and weather, of sea creatures and the rhythms of Maine's laconic residents' lives. A climactic storm and rescue seem tacked on to add some suspense, and several subplots dangle unresolved, but Howland is a sensitive observer of relationships, and untangling the multiple motives from which his characters often act will keep readers involved in the story. John Peters
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Book Description Front Street, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 812628004
Book Description Front Street, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0812628004
Book Description Front Street, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110812628004