Tyler finds adolescence even more difficult when he falls in love with his teacher, who is dating the wrestling coach, and in an effort to win her love, he tries out for the wrestling team.
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In his third novel about Tyler (who lives in upstate New York with his widowed actress mom, a housekeeper, and big-brother surrogate Chuckie, ex-Marine and present ``groundskeeper''), Hayes turns from the melodrama of The Trouble with Lemons (1991) and the farce of The Eye of the Beholder (1992) to a better balanced, more realistic story about the eighth grader in love- -with his new science teacher, Miss Williams. Hayes manipulates events freely: Miss Williams's predecessor is conveniently carried off by a stroke; immediately after, the obnoxious wrestling coach throws his back while demonstrating a move and is replaced by Chuckie, who turns out to be a former state champ. Totally smitten, Tyler invites Miss Williams to Thanksgiving and his first meet and is overjoyed at her ready acceptance; she turns out to be dating Chuckie, but Tyler's discovery of this predictable fact is neither as comic nor as shattering might be expected. Pluckily surviving his peers' hazing and establishing a more appropriate friendship with the teacher, Tyler goes on to win his meet by a fluke. Hayes understands young people, and captures their thoughts, concerns, and repartee very well, while his characters here (especially sidekick Lymie) are more consistently drawn than before. He still overburdens his narrative with detail; though it's vividly presented and mostly germane, there's far too much of it, and of explaining instead of showing. But Tyler's a likable guy, and kids his age will enjoy spending time with him. (Fiction. 11-14) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Tyler McAllister, earlier seen in The Trouble with Lemons and Eye of the Beholder , has gone out for the high school wrestling team, even though he's only in eighth grade. Little does he anticipate that far more strenuous contests will occur off the mat. A teacher's fatal stroke and a coach's injury call up disturbing questions about mortality, but the appearance of a new teacher, the beautiful, young Miss Williams, inspires Tyler's first love. Hayes masterfully blends humor and heartache, casting Tyler as the understated narrator of his own tumultuous affairs. Perceptive, funny and, above all, believable, Tyler struggles to strike a balance between emotional extremes as he endures the confusion and chaos of early adolescence. Hayes has a rare understanding of his characters' milieu, and readers will particularly appreciate his canny descriptions of school functionaries, such as the overeager social worker who presides over the "crisis intervention center" set up to help the essentially untroubled student body deal with the death of "Old Lady Waverly." The author's steady hand allows the reader, like Tyler, to see serious or disturbing events for what they are--part of life. Ages 11-up.
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Book Description David R Godine Pub, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110879239891