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Blackwater (Harper Trophy Books


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About the Author

Eve Bunting was born in Ireland and came to California with her husband and three children. She is one of the most acclaimed and versatile children's book authors, with more than two hundred novels and picture books to her credit. Among her honors are many state awards, the Kerlan Award, the Golden Kite Award, the Regina Medal, the Mystery Writers of America and the Western Writers of America awards, and a PEN International Special Achievement award for her contribution to children's literature. In 2002, Ms. Bunting was chosen to be Irish-American Woman of the Year by the Irish-American Heritage Committee of New York.


Gr 5-8-"TELL." When 13-year-old Brodie reads the note, he realizes that someone knows his terrible secret. He didn't intend for anything bad to happen; he'd only planned to teach his pesky cousin Alex how to swim. But when the two arrive at the swimming hole, a dammed-up part of the dangerous Blackwater River, they find Pauline and Otis already there, sunning on a large rock. Brodie has a crush on Pauline and is jealous of the older boy. He quietly swims over to the rock and starts to pull her into the water. Otis pulls back and the screaming girl is stuck in the middle like a wishbone. When Brodie lets go, the other two teenagers fall backward into the swiftly rushing river. He jumps in the water to try to save them, but the current is too strong and he must be rescued. Pauline and Otis drown and Brodie is hailed a hero, especially when Alex tells his own trumped-up version of the story. Brodie means to be honest, but because of his injuries and the reactions of others, he finds he cannot tell the real story. How long-and how safely-can he keep his secret? Similar in plot to Marion Dane Bauer's On My Honor (Clarion, 1986), Bunting's more complex novel is an exciting blend of physical and psychological action and conflict as Brodie is caught in a web of deceit, as guilt and fear overcome his desire to tell the truth. The novel also focuses on friendship, family, and forgiveness as Brodie's friend Hannah helps him admit his responsibility in the accident. An engrossing tale with likable, realistic characters.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Bunting (I Have an Olive Tree; Smoky Night) crafts an ethics-centered novel that will long flicker in readers' memories. Brodie's plans to go camping with his best friend on the nearby banks of the furious Blackwater River are foiled when his younger cousin, Alex, comes to spend the summer. To top it off, Alex also wrecks 13-year-old Brodie's highly anticipated plans to take his classmate and crush, Pauline, to the movies. One morning, Brodie decides to teach Alex how to swim in a protected area of the Blackwater, and the two spy Pauline cozying up to an older boy on a rock in the middle of the river. Bunting's cunning description of the tragic incident that follows leaves just enough room for readers' to interpret the events. Should Brodie be elevated to hero status, shunned as a villain, or somewhere in between? And Alex, with his proclivity for fibbing, devises a cover-up that further obscures the truth. But it soon becomes evident that someone else witnessed what happened in the Blackwater River. Smoothly shifting between dialogue and his inner thoughts, Brodie's affecting, first-person narrative makes the boy's nightmarish struggle with his conscience chillingly credible. Bunting's thought-provoking theme, solid characterization and skillful juggling of suspense and pathos make this a top-notch choice for both boys and girls. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"A novel that will long flicker in reader's memories."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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