By Chris Crutcher
(For young adults)
In the opening chapter, 18-year-old Ben Wolf is told by his physician that he has a terminal blood disease. As soon as he hears the news, he makes the decision not to tell anyone about his prognosis. This decision is based on the fact that he wants to have a “normal” senior year.
At first, thanks to his newfound courage, it seems as though he is going to get his wish — he makes the varsity football team, gets a date with his crush, Dallas Suzuki, and has an all-around extraordinary first semester — until he realizes that telling the truth is more important than protecting his loved ones.
As usual, Crutcher’s novel has many subplots and a variety of secondary characters including Mr. Lambeer, Ben’s right-wing government teacher; Rudy McCoy, the town drunk, a former priest and a self-confessed child molester; Marla, a therapist and the only other person besides Ben’s physician to know about his illness; and Hey-soos, a Jesus-like character who appears to Ben in his dreams. All the secondary characters have secrets of their own, and it is through them that Ben ultimately sees how important it is that he share his secret.
In the end, he tells his family, his football coach, his girlfriend and eventually the whole school. Ben falls short in his goal of making it to his high-school graduation, but his brother, Cody, delivers an emotional address that Ben penned before his death.
Crutcher pulls no punches in this poignant work. There is a lot going on, but readers will appreciate the fast pace, the sports theme, and Ben’s ambitious desire to pack the rest of his life into his senior year of high school.
‘The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World’
- Globe Life
Head for heritage: Through years of devotion to community, title of 'Mr. Carl Junction' earned
He worked for and later owned the town's weekly newspaper, the Standard, for more than 30 years; retired as the Jasper County deputy assessor in 2004; is president of the Carl Junction cemetery board and serves as the high school alumni association's corresponding secretary.
Phyllis Seesengood: Gardner's seventh in series among her best thrillers
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Ryan Richardson: Dog remembers summer toads aren't chew toys
Over the next month, I became fascinated with their well-being. As far as I could tell, none of my other neighbors had the fortune of having these little guys pay them a visit.
Frankie Meyer: USGS launches powerful map tool
The site, historicalmaps .arcgis.com/usgs, will be a tremendous help to family history researchers. The maps are free, downloadable and printable. Best of all, they include the quadrangle maps that researchers used to pay for.
Frankie Meyer: Genealogy website upgrades its microfilm ordering process
Have you recently used the website familysearch.org? I recently learned that the site has vastly improved its system allowing researchers to order microfilm copies of items listed on the site.
Ryan Richardson: Collars, leashes can help dogs learn control
I take my dog out to the biking and walking trails in Joplin on a regular basis. I'm kind of a big guy, so the exercise is great for me gets my dog out into nature a bit more. Even though it has been pretty hot lately, I still make it a point to get out there three times a week if possible.
Women's league offers practice, social opportunities for gun owners
The objective for some is to improve their skills for target or competitive shooting, the league's website says. Others, while wanting to improve their skills, also are interested in aspects of self-defense.
Cari Rerat: Gratton's series a great transition to Gaiman
In "The Lost Sun," the first book of "The United States of Asgard" by Tessa Gratton, Soren Bearskin is a berserker. He has an innate internal fire, a battle rage that he constantly tries to squelch with self-discipline, exercise, and meditation.
Frankie Meyer: List of historic sites offers plenty of research leads
In 1966, our federal government established the National Historic Preservation Act that set up the National Register of Historic Places.
Achievements (July 20)
The following people were recognized in the Joplin Globe for the following achievements.
- More Globe Life Headlines
- Head for heritage: Through years of devotion to community, title of 'Mr. Carl Junction' earned