Get a free SCARS short story. Sign up for News & Goodies from YA Author Cheryl Rainfield



My Books
See Next Book
STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

SCARS book cover

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself--before it's too late.

Awards: #1 in the Top 10 ALA Quick Picks, ALA's Rainbow List, a Governor General Literary Award Finalist, Staff Pick for Teaching Tolerance.

Yes, it's my own arm on the cover of SCARS.

HUNTED book cover

Caitlyn, a telepath in a world where having any paranormal power at all can kill her, must decide between saving herself or saving the world.

Awards: A finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award.

PARALLEL VISIONS book cover

Kate sees visions of the future--but only when she has an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, and a schoolmate killing herself, Kate must trigger more attacks--but that could kill her.

Awards: 2013 Gold Winner, Wise Bear Digital Awards, YA Paranormal category.

STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

See Previous Book

Love my books?
Join my Street Team!

You'll have my deep gratitude, hear book news first, get swag, and enter to win private contests

Teen Books That Have Something to Say


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Review

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
Random House,(July 2003)
ISBN-10: 0385512104
ISBN-13: 9780385512107

My rating:



My name is Christopher John Francis Boone. I know all the continents of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7,057.
Eight years ago, when I first met Siobhan, she showed me this picture:
and I knew that it meant "sad," which is what I felt when I found the dead dog.
Then she showed me this picture:
and I knew that it meant "happy," like when I'm reading about the Apollo space missions, or when I am still awake at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. in the morning and I can walk up and down the street and pretend that I am the only person in the whole world.
--The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon, p. 2

Fifteen-year-old autistic Christopher Boone excels at math, but does not understand emotion or personal connection. He is most comfortable with facts, and is often puzzled by the way other people act.

One night he finds the neighbour's dog, Wellington, dead in the yard, and the neighbour accuses him of murdering Wellington, he begins a quest to find out who really killed the dog. Along the way he uncovers another mystery, and is forced to face challenges and try to understand things that he has not before.

Christopher is an intriguing character; he is highly intelligent, but so emotionally disconnected, and he lacks empathy for others. Still, we come to care about him and the world he lives in, in part because of the great detail he gives us about the feelings and context in the world around him, even though he doesn't understand those feelings or context. We see that he is so often overwhelmed by outside stimulants—sounds, sights, touch, etc, and that he retreats into his head or tries to impose rules on the world because he is so greatly overwhelmed, and this, too, helps us empathize with him more.

He reports everything he sees and hears, although he doesn't understand the subtleties, and through his reporting, we are able to understand the emotional complexities and motivations of other people that he completely misses. The greatest insights that we gain about Christopher's behavior and knowledge come through his telling us what other characters have said about him, not what he tells us directly.

However, at times this emotional disconnection and lack of empathy for people can create some distance for the reader, making the reader feel disengaged from Christopher, and even, at times, frightened of him, and the lengths he is willing to go to protect himself.

Through Christopher, we are given a peek into the world of autism. We learn a lot about autism and science through the course of the book, while being entertained, though the details slowly unfold, and are not overwhelming.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is incredibly well written. The writing is engaging and interesting, almost poetic at times, the characters full, and we learn throughout the book. The book contains very vivid, fresh details that help us see the characters and believe in them.

However, about half way through the book, after Christopher solves the mystery of the dog, the excellence of the writing drops off, and we lose one of the major threads that was pulling us through the book—the mystery of the dog. In addition, neither Christopher nor his parents seem to act in character in the last half of the book, and their actions and some of the plot twists become unbelievable, and feel forced. Despite this, the novel is an enjoyable read.

This is a moving, powerful, interesting, and extremely well-written book. A can't-put-it-down book.

-Added February 05, 2005


Want more books?

Go back to Dealing With Death: It Touches Everyone to find great Teen Books That Have Something to Say.

Or, go to Teen Books That Have Something to Say to see all of the books.