From Publishers Weekly
A high school basketball star struggles with guilt and depression following the drunk-driving accident that killed his best friend. Short chapters and alternating viewpoints provide "raw energy and intense emotion," said PW. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up--In the second book of Sharon M. Draper's trilogy (Atheneum, 1994) about teens faced with grim and realistic situations in a contemporary urban high school, star basketball player Andy Jackson can't recover from the depression building in him after his drunk driving resulted in the death of his friend, Rob. About half a dozen actors share the reading of this emotionally taut narrative which unfolds in conversations, notes, reports, and other documents. Andy, his teammates, his girlfriend, his parents, and his little brother each present both their observations and their concerns as Andy moves from shock to depression and finally to suicide in the wake of his grief. The revelation of Andy's failed attempts to get help for himself is especially keen, and the relationships among these variously mature characters is insightfully genuine. While Draper's characters are distinct and well realized, the cast of readers alternate between assuming specific roles and reading full passages in a single voice without regard to its variety of characters, making it difficult for listeners to associate specific tones and rhythms with these characters. To further muddy listener perceptions, the audio publisher has released the three titles in the trilogy (Forged by Fire, Tears of a Tiger, and Darkness Before Dawn) in a different chronology and makes reference on the packaging that this title is the first. The trailer at the end of the recording suggests listeners might want to listen to Cry, the Beloved Country or Harriet Tubman next, odd alternatives in place of Darkness Before Dawn(Recorded Books, 2002) which begins where this novel ends. Strong reading and Draper's excellent storytelling, however, outweigh the inattention to detail, making this an audiobook important to all collections for teens.--Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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