The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

Josh Berk, Author . Knopf $16.99 (250p) ISBN 978-0-375-85699-0

New student Will Halpin is overweight and deaf, and he adeptly eavesdrops on conversations by lip-reading while his own inner monologue is off and running. Debut author Berk injects Will's narrative voice with humor, irreverence, and self-deprecation; readers are also privy to Will's occasional horny thoughts about girls, which are funny and genuine without being overly vulgar (“The first thing I notice is this: public school girls are freaking hot . Nice . I try to focus on that and not on the sinking feeling that it might be way harder not to fail here than I thought”). Midway through, the story really takes off: after a football player takes a spill down a mineshaft on a field trip, Will and his new friend Devon try to solve the mystery of the student's death. Investigations into sleazy teachers and liked (and not-so-well-liked) classmates ensue. Much of the book's second half takes place in IMs between Will and Devon, which push the story forward at a lively pace. An engrossing whodunit that subtly draws attention to social issues surrounding deafness. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/18/2010
Release date: 02/01/2010
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-91698-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-91699-0
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-0-375-84625-0
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-375-89551-7
Library Binding - 250 pages - 978-0-375-95699-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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