My Teenage Sidekick Loves a Deadline

Alison Morris - June 20, 2007

Here you go, folks — another review written by my savvy 16-year-old sidekick, Katrina Van Amsterdam.

by Chris Crutcher (Harper Collins/Greenwillow, September 2007)

Deadlines aren’t just for tedious homework assignments and stressful work projects. There is a deadline that, at some time or another, we all face: death. Some live in fear of that deadline for their whole lives, while other learn to appreciate life while they are living. In Chris Crutcher’s Deadline, Ben Wolf is told that he has a fatal case of leukemia and opts not to tell anyone, on the grounds that he wants his last year to be a “normal” year. Through football season, a quest to show up a bigoted history teacher, and some surprising new relationships, Ben lives his last year as any old 18-year-old with a terminal disease.

Crutcher touches on weightier issues in this novel – child molestation, to name a significant one. But, as always, he adds an element of athletics (football, in this case) for those of his readers who are avid sports fans. For the reader who doesn’t fancy football, have no fear – Crutcher makes his discussion of the sport very reader-friendly!

Deadline is one of the best books I’ve read in quite some time. It makes you laugh; it makes you cry; and it touches you in a place where most “teen fiction” novels fall short. If nothing else, you will come away with an invaluable lesson: to live life as if you have all the time in the world, while realizing that you might only have one day left.

3 thoughts on “My Teenage Sidekick Loves a Deadline

  1. C. W. Renfield

    Great review, well written book and all, but why is it that teenage boys in a real-time (non-fantasy) setting are always depicted as sad losers who are either dying of something or suffering from abuse and self-doubt? Could it be that YA publishers simply don’t like them very much? That’s the way most teen guy readers relate to all this, which is why they stay well clear of that part of the bookstore…

  2. C.W. Renfield

    The opinions were mostly rhetorical regarding Ben Wolf specifically, ( as noted, it’s a well-written, thoughtful book) but the Ophrah Law regsrding teenage boys in YA fiction still stands: Thou Shalt Not Submit Plots About OK Guys Who Win The Fight & Get The Girl… If Mark Twain were around today, he’d starve to death trying to sell Tom Sawyer…


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