In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Monday, April 1, 2013

SPEEDING BULLET by Neal Shusterman

copyright date: 1991
primarily marketed for: young adults (7th grade up)

In preparation for our author re-visit, I tried to read every Neal Shusterman book that has been sitting in my pile of books to read.  Every time I read his work I am blown away.

Speeding Bullet is typical of Shusterman’s work in the sense that there is a supernatural element in the story, but it is so realistically told that as a reader, I completely suspend my disbelief.   

Nick Herrera is an average teenager with below average intelligence.  He is constantly told by teachers he sees as completely unreliable that if he simply believed in himself more, he would achieve greater success in school.  It is not until a chance encounter with fate at a New York subway stop that Nick’s self-image begins to change. 

After saving a young girl’s life and defying death himself in the face of a speeding train, Nick notices that luck is consistently on his side all of a sudden.  He feels drawn to continue to find situations in which to rescue others, and despite pleas from his parents and his new girlfriend (daughter of the richest builder in New York City), Nick continues to tempt fate by risking his life to save them. 

As he racks up an increasingly large number of rescues, the media can’t help but notice.  His newfound fame finally becomes too great a burden when he is asked to help prevent a suicide.  Rumors about the extent of his powers circulate and threaten to undo him altogether.

This is a riveting story, filled with the thoughtful and thought-provoking writing I have come to expect from Shusterman.  The ending is just open-ended enough to leave the story lingering in my mind for weeks to come. 

1 comment:

  1. What a predicament to be in. To finally feel like you "mean" something only to be placed in a situation that might bring more harm to you than good. Very intriguing!