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For Mike

by Shelley Sykes


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Sykes's taut first-person narrative is riveting from the first page and never lets up. Named a Delacorte Press Prize honor book for a first young adult novel, its strength lies in exceptionally well fleshed-out characters and deceptively simple writing. When his best friend Mike disappears, high school senior Jeff's life tilts sideways. He starts dreaming that he sees Mike's hair matted with leaves and getting "messages" from the dreams, but can't seem to talk to his dad, a state police officer, about his suspicions and fears. Nowhere seems safe--except his childhood friend Berry's house and Mike's church. Although the premise seems to have more in common with teen slasher films than fine literature, the author buttresses the plot with classic questions about life and death, faith and grief. And unlike the existentially barren family situations found in many young adult novels, Jeff's and Mike's families and friends are good people hit by a very bad situation. Only by discovering what happened to Mike can Jeff, Berry and Mike's family move on with life, even if the truth means uncovering murder. Readers can only hope this is the first of many novels from Sykes. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 8 Up--A suspense story with a paranormal twist. As Jeff tries to deal with his best friend's disappearance at the beginning of their senior year, his sleep is troubled by nightmares in which Mike asks him for help. Jeff thinks that his dreams might contain important clues and he turns to his childhood friend, Berry, who is into "spooky stuff" like dream interpretation and ESP, to try and figure out what is going on. She becomes his confidant, and, as their relationship grows, the two become romantically involved. The mystery takes flight when Mike's body is discovered and the psychic evidence seems to implicate another friend. Set in modern suburbia, this well-crafted story should be popular with young adults who are looking for more oomph in their novels. Although not all of the characters are completely fleshed out and the ending seems clear early on, the plot has enough twists to sustain readers' interest. Jeff might be a bit more sensitive than the average 17-year-old male, but his first-person voice seems genuine. An intriguing addition to YA collections.

Tracey Firestone, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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