Where'd You Get the Gun, Billy?

Fran Arrick, Author
Fran Arrick, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $16 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-07135-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-28935-0
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Classmates Liz and David can't believe that 16-year-old Billy shot and killed his girlfriend, but what they really cannot understand is how he got the gun in the first place. In this version of The Story of a Penny , the short and tragic history of a handgun is traced by a world-weary cop in a small upstate New York town. Cornered by Liz and David, Lieutenant Wisnewski explains about gun control and then constructs a hypothetical journey by which the gun gets to Billy. Strongly slanted toward handgun regulation, Arrick's ( God's Radar ; Tunnel Vision ) novel sacrifices verisimilitude for tabloid-style sensationalism. The cardboard characters fit into shallow niches--preppies, battered wives, macho types--giving the novel a dated and didactic feel. The message is worthy, but the clunky approach will turn readers off. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
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