Friday, June 15, 2012

Jasper Jones

by Craig Silvey
Knopf | April 5, 2011 (originally published in Australia 2009)

This 2012 Printz Honor Award winner takes place in the small town of Corrigan, where Jasper Jones is the town pariah. One night, he shows up at Charlie's house, asking for help. Together, they do something unthinkable to save Jasper, with Charlie wondering all the while why he's gotten involved at all. The secret they keep wends its way into Charlie's very being as Laura Wishart's disappearance tortures the town and her family. As the details unfold, Charlie learns, along with the reader, what's true and what's speculation and how to make sense of both.

Silvey's prose is fantastically written - this is one of the best books I've read this year. His use of intertextual references (Charlie's quite a reader) and his nods to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird are lovely. Reading Lee and then Silvey as a pair would make for a really excellent assignment (self imposed or imposed on young people). There's a lot to understand and consider from the characters in this story: Charlie and Jasper and Laura and Eliza, too. Corrigan is also a character in the novel with all its inhabitants and mores and unwritten rules.

Don't miss this one.

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