THE LONG NIGHT OF LEO AND BREE

Ellen Wittlinger, Author . S&S $15 (128p) ISBN 978-0-689-83564-3

Narrated by two very different teens—Leo, a poor, troubled dropout, and Bree, a rich girl rebelling against her sheltered life—Wittlinger's (Hard Love) novel raises interesting issues, but ultimately its premise is too problematic. The novel opens as 17-year-old Leo marks the fourth anniversary of his sister's murder by her abusive boyfriend. After a violent fight with his alcoholic mother, Leo goes for a drive. Seeing scantily clad Bree, who's come from the neighboring rich town to find a bar and play pool, Leo decides she was "the one who was supposed to die," not his "nice girl" sister. He kidnaps Bree, blindfolds her and takes her to the basement below his apartment. Bree jabbers about her life, thinking if she becomes real to him, he won't kill her. As the night wears on, he finally opens up, too, and she realizes, "When you make yourself real to somebody, they become real to you too." Some of their conversations touch on thoughtful topics, from whether or not a girl should be able to walk down the street by herself ("Why shouldn't I be able to go someplace by myself if I want to? Why do I have to have a man along all the time?" she asks Leo) to how families deal with death (Bree had a sister who died as a child). But neither teen seems fully formed, so that Bree's bond with Leo, which results in her deciding not to turn him in, feels too creepy and unbelievable. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/18/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-73433-2
Paperback - 111 pages - 978-0-689-86335-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-8946-0
Hardcover - 168 pages - 978-0-689-83710-4
Open Ebook - 128 pages - 978-1-4391-1651-7
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