Skullcrack

By Ben Bo

Place: Publisher & Year: Minneapolis: Lerner Sports, 2000

Genres: General fiction, adventure, paranormal

ISBN: 9780822533085

Intended audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 159 (161 including Editor’s Note)

Setting: Mulligan, Ireland (County Sligo) and Storm Island, Florida (near Cape Canaveral)

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Jonah Ebbers has one good thing in his life – the surf at Craxkull Point.  This is where he heads when he needs to get away from his alcoholic father, the kids at school, and the voices in his head.  When he is in the water, riding a wave, he is at peace with the world.  Unfortunately, he can’t surf forever.  The strange voice and girlish apparition he can almost see at times is disturbing him more frequently, on top of his father making a fool of himself at the tavern and spending all of their money on alcohol.  Jonah wants a normal life with a future worth looking forward to, but he will have to examine his past to find it.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Quick pace with plenty of action

Characterization: Told in third person through Jonah.  The most important secondary character– Sal – is not introduced until the end of the story; the Bone Man is another important character who appears earlier in the story.

Language: A few Irish Gaelic words and phrases are used throughout the story and serve as reminders of location and culture.

Frame: When Jonah is first introduced, he pleads with a storm for the waves to be returned, promising to give anything.  This desperate pleading with a force of nature sets the frame for this story.

Tone: Hopeful – Jonah never gives up hoping for a change for the better.

Story line: Adolescence is difficult enough without the added elements of a secretive past.  Jonah needs to discover his past, if his father and he are to have any hope for a future together.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Extrasensory perception — Fiction.

Twins — Fiction.

Brothers and sisters — Fiction.

Alcoholism — Fiction.

Surfing — Fiction.

Ireland — Fiction.

Similar authors:

Avi

Matt de la Peña

Gordon Korman

Mike Lupica

Walter Dean Myers

Gary Paulsen

Personal notes: I found this book when I was searching for similar works to The Green Room by Deborah Turrell Atkinson.  While I don’t think this is a similar book to that one, it did spark my interest – a surfing book set in Ireland with a paranormal element…

Other (diversity, themes, websites): Diversity – twins, alcoholic, children of alcoholics, adoptee, Irish, aes dana (gifted ones)

This book was selected by the Young Adult Library Services Association as a “Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers” in 2001.

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