Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Australian author Silvey wears his influences (notably To Kill a Mockingbird) a little too obviously on his sleeve in a novel about crime, race, and growing up in a 1960s Australian mining town. Charlie, 13, is woken up on a hot summer night by teenage outcast Jasper, who wants to show him something secret. That secret turns out to be the dead body of Laura Wishart, Jasper's occasional paramour and the older sister of Charlie's own crush, Eliza. The boys, assuming that Jasper will be blamed, hide the body, and Laura's disappearance combines with the boys' guilt and lies to create an ongoing spiral of stress. The town of Corrigan is rife with racism, which is directed mainly at the half-aboriginal Jasper and Charlie's Vietnamese best friend, Jeffrey. The banter between Jeffrey and Charlie drives the novel's lighter scenes, but can distract, feeling more like Tarantinoesque pop culture asides than anything else. Still, when Silvey, making his U.S. debut, focuses on the town's ugly underbelly, as well as the troubles in Charlie's family, the novel is gripping enough to overcome its weaknesses. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-Everything changes for 14-year-old Charlie Bucktin the night the town outcast, Jasper Jones, knocks on his window. Jasper needs to show him something terrible, so he takes Charlie into his secret spot in the glade. Laura Wishart, the shire president's daughter and Jasper's friend, hangs from a tree, and unless the boys can hide her body, Jasper will surely be blamed. Without knowing the why or how of this tragedy, Charlie is left with a secret that's almost impossible to bear. The oppressive heat of a small Australian town is an appropriate setting for the slow boil of unraveling truths. Charlie seems wise beyond his years, using the vocabulary of the tomes in which he loses himself. There are, however, several glimpses to remind readers of his real age-in dealing with his first real crush, his uninhibited best friend, and his temperamental mother. Silvey is a master of wit and words, spinning a coming-of-age tale told through the mind of a young Holden Caulfield. Some readers may find themselves stumbling through the Australian slang and cricket-game terminology, but the universal themes are reminiscent of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. However, the expletives and subject matter make this gripping story most appropriate for older teens.-Kimberly Castle, Stark County District Library, Canton, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-Town outcast Jasper Jones shows 14-year-old Charlie Bucktin his terrible discovery-the body of Jasper's friend Laura hanging from a tree-and the boys know they must hide her or Jasper will be blamed. A nail-biting tale told with wit and featuring two memorable teens who face difficult and life-altering decisions. (June) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

To 13-year-old Charlie Bucktin, Jasper Jones is nothing but an outcast, a stranger. Then, in the middle of the night, Jasper turns up at Charlie's bedroom window and leads him to the hanging body of a dead girl, the daughter of the shire president in their small Australian town. Unless Charlie helps him, Jasper will be blamed for the murder. What follows is equal parts mystery, coming-of-age story, and sophisticated literary novel. Right up to the hard, satisfying ending, the first-person, immediate, present-tense account offers an authentically adolescent perspective of the racist, patriotic turmoil of the 1970s as it affected small-town life. Silvey balances the predominant gravity with moments of lightness in the awkward fumbling of first love and the profane, hilarious banter that defines Charlie's relationship with his new best friend. Charlie is an avid reader, and in his worldview, shaped by Atticus Finch and Puddn'Head Wilson, and his account of events, young readers will experience how powerful stories help to clarify life.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist