When Jeff Comes Home

Catherine Atkins

Published by Putnam Juvenile, 1999
ISBN 10: 0399233660 / ISBN 13: 9780399233661
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Synopsis: Jeff Hart was thirteen when a man kidnapped him at knife point. Now he's sixteen and back with his family. But how can he adjust to the "normal" life of a California teenager? What will it be like to see his old friends, even to go back to school, when everyone is wondering exactly what happened to him? What does his family, and especially his father, think about the relationship he developed with his kidnapper? And how can Jeff live with himself after all he has been through?

This powerful and unsettling novel explores the mind of a boy struggling to come to terms with who he was, and who he is now, after an experience that has changed his life.

From School Library Journal: Grade 10 Up-Abducted from a California rest stop and abused-physically, emotionally, and sexually-by his kidnapper for 2 U years, Jeff, now 16, is finally released and allowed to return home. Once a star athlete and quintessential "good kid," he is reunited with a family and friends who have become strangers and is caught in a maelstrom of emotions he tries desperately to suppress and deny. Once the apple of his father's eye, Jeff now has a strained relationship with him. His siblings are eager to reconnect, but treat him with a mandated fragility. Consumed with self-loathing, feeling ashamed and unclean, Jeff refuses to cooperate with investigators and name his abductor. The denial comes to haunt him when his kidnapper asserts that their relations were consensual, thus destroying the tentative trust Jeff had rebuilt with an old friend and making his return to school a nightmare of persecution. This is a strong, uncompromising first novel. Jeff's awkwardness and raw pain at having his outlook on life forever altered are drawn with a remarkable sensitivity and honesty. Supporting characters are equally well realized, with each individual differently, yet relatedly affected by the teen's abduction. There can be no instant resolution, ironically no return "home," and there is none. Jeff's emotional scars run deeper than the physical ones scored on his back. There is, however, positive motion toward healing. At last, the boy begins to talk, breaking through his denial and expressing his anger. A powerful, difficult, yet cathartic read.
Jennifer A. Fakolt, Denver Public Library
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: When Jeff Comes Home
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: 1999
Book Condition: Good

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