Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bleakly beautiful

There is absolutely no way mere words can do justice to THE CHILDREN AND THE WOLVES by Adam Rapp (Candlewick Press 2012). Rapp, a Printz Honor Medalist for PUNKZILLA, once again mines the dark side of life for children and teens. Bounce, Wiggins, and Orange have taken Frog captive. She is being held in the basement of Orange's apartment house. Bounce is a genius, a wealthy one with access to endless supp;lies of drugs thanks to her parents (who are, of course, absent even when they are present). She uses her incredible mind and the drugs to control Wiggins and Orange, to make them dance to her tune. Amoral and reckless, Bounce is in control. Only Wiggins begins to question her actions and her expectations for her compadres. This landscape is riddled with violence and seemingly with hopelessness as well. However, it is also horribly real for too many children and teens who lack adults to care for them, to love them, to guide them. Spare text, lots of interior access to the thoughts of the characters (particularly Wiggins), and brutal honesty are all trademarks of Rapp's writing. never have these three come together as they do here. This slim novel is one that demands reading more than once. There are layers here to be peeled back and inspected, clues about the culture which permits throw away children to exist, and much much more. <206>

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