cover image The Tightrope Walkers

The Tightrope Walkers

David Almond. Candlewick, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7310-9

In a powerfully realistic bildungsroman from award-winning author Almond (The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean), Dominic Hall, the son of a working man from Newcastle, seems destined for greater success than was possible for his ill-educated and often angry father. It’s the late 1960s, and the times are definitely changing. Though Dom “was born in a hovel on the banks of the Tyne, as so many of us were back then,” his quick mind has opened up to him a wider world of ideas and the chance to be the first in his family to attend college. Like good and bad angels on either shoulder, however, are his friends, Holly Stroud, an eccentric child of the middle-class, and Vincent McAlinden, an incorrigible and sometimes frightening troublemaker who shares the Halls’ blue-collar background. Dom is drawn in opposite directions by these two as he negotiates a difficult, sometimes dangerous world. Almond’s characteristic penetrating writing and finely drawn characters are on full display in a story more fully grounded in a specific and important historical moment than anything he has published heretofore. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)