"Ever since the fifth grade, I've had this imaginary audience in my head who follow me around and watch me like I'm the star in a movie," explains 15-year-old Jason, who narrates this intense novel from National Book Award Medalist Nolan (Dancing on the Edge). But imagined friends can't help Jason with the problem he inherited after his mother's death: taking care of a mentally ill father, whose condition is worsening. Structured as a conversation between Jason and his outspoken internal chorus (which includes sympathetic Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith Show, the antagonistic Crazy Glue, and even a laugh track), the novel draws readers inside the psyche of a troubled teenager to experience the chaos, panic, and isolation he feels each day. When his father disappears, Jason risks soliciting help from a group of newfound friends from school. Some readers may feel overwhelmed by the constant interruptions from Jason's internal voices, yet the cacophony underscores Jason's frustration and helplessness. Nolan balances weighty subject matter with humor, offering an intelligent portrayal of a boy's slow release of burdens too heavy to carry alone. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/13/2010 Release date: 09/01/2010 Genre: Children's
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