Being Henry David

Cal Armistead. Albert Whitman Teen, $16.99 (312p) ISBN 978-0-8075-0615-8
Armistead’s debut might oversell its Thoreauvian connections, but the core story of an amnesiac boy and his quest for identity stands on its own. When “Henry David” wakes up in Penn Station, he has no clue who he is; since his only possession is a copy of Walden, he takes the author’s name as his own. After falling in with a pair of homeless teens who nickname him Hank and being threatened by a crime boss, the 17-year-old decides he’s safer outside the city and heads to Concord, Mass., to see if Thoreau’s life can offer him answers. There, he meets an attractive high schooler named Hailey and a heavily tattooed librarian named Thomas, both of whom help Hank as his memories slowly come back. Armistead can go over the top at times—her New York City is almost cartoonishly violent and one-dimensional—but Hank’s personal tragedies are touching, as are his interactions with everyone from street kids Jack and Nessa to the more sedate citizens of Concord. His quests for answers and redemption should easily engage readers. Ages 13–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Ebook - 270 pages - 978-1-4804-1986-5
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 270 pages - 978-1-4804-1992-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-8075-0616-5
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