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Deadline
Cover of Deadline
Deadline
Borrow

Ben Wolf has big things planned for his senior year. Had big things planned. Now what he has is some very bad news and only one year left to make his mark on the world.

How can a pint-sized, smart-ass seventeen-year-old do anything significant in the nowheresville of Trout, Idaho?

First, Ben makes sure that no one else knows what is going on — not his superstar quarterback brother, Cody, not his parents, not his coach, no one. Next, he decides to become the best 127-pound football player Trout High has ever seen; to give his close-minded civics teacher a daily migraine; and to help the local drunk clean up his act.

And then there's Dallas Suzuki. Amazingly perfect, fascinating Dallas Suzuki, who may or may not give Ben the time of day. Really, she's first on the list.

Living with a secret isn't easy, though, and Ben's resolve begins to crumble . . . especially when he realizes that he isn't the only person in Trout with secrets.

Ben Wolf has big things planned for his senior year. Had big things planned. Now what he has is some very bad news and only one year left to make his mark on the world.

How can a pint-sized, smart-ass seventeen-year-old do anything significant in the nowheresville of Trout, Idaho?

First, Ben makes sure that no one else knows what is going on — not his superstar quarterback brother, Cody, not his parents, not his coach, no one. Next, he decides to become the best 127-pound football player Trout High has ever seen; to give his close-minded civics teacher a daily migraine; and to help the local drunk clean up his act.

And then there's Dallas Suzuki. Amazingly perfect, fascinating Dallas Suzuki, who may or may not give Ben the time of day. Really, she's first on the list.

Living with a secret isn't easy, though, and Ben's resolve begins to crumble . . . especially when he realizes that he isn't the only person in Trout with secrets.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.1
  • Lexile:
    820
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Early August

    My plan was to focus my senior year on information I could use after graduation when I set out for Planet Earth from the Pluto that is Trout, Idaho, population 943. My SATs said I wasn't even close to brain-dead and I was set to be accepted at any college I chose, as long as I chose one that would accept me. A lot of guys use their senior year to coast; catch up on partying and reward themselves for making it this far. Not me. This was my year to read everything I could get my hands on, to speak up, push myself and my teachers to get the true hot poop on the World At Large, so I could hit the ground running. How big a pain in the ass do you think that would make me in Mr. Lambeer's U.S. government/current events class, where Lambeer regularly alters reality with the zeal of an evangelical senator?

    I also intended to shock the elite by etching my name atop the winner's board at the state cross-country meet, then come home to take Dallas Suzuki by surprise. Dallas Suzuki may sound to you like a car dealership in Texas, but for the past three years, she has been the single prey in the crosshairs of my Cupid's bow, and she doesn't know it because she is way, way out of my league.

    Mr. Ambitious.

    Then, about two weeks after my eighteenth birthday, a month and a half before beginning my final year at Trout High, I discovered I'll be lucky to be there at the finish. A warning like that usually comes from the school office, to be ignored until the third notice, but this was from The Office Above The Office and was to be attended to immediately.

    Doc Wagner left a phone message a few days after my routine cross-country physical; he wanted to see me with my parents in his office either ASAP or pronto. There was gravity in his voice, so I decided I'd better scout ahead to see if his message was PG-13 and suited for all, or R-rated and just for me. Turned out to be X.

    "Hey, Ben," he said as he passed me in the waiting room. "where are your folks?"

    "They couldn't make it."

    "I'd really prefer they were here."

    "My mom's . . . well, you know my mom; and Dad's on the truck."

    "I'm afraid I have to insist," he said.

    "I'll relay the information. Promise."

    He said it again. "I'm afraid I have to insist."

    "Insist all you want, my good man," I said back. "I'm eighteen, an adult in the eyes of the election board and the Selective Service and your people, the American Medical Association. I decide who gets the goods on yours truly." Dr. Wagner has known my family since before I was born and was plenty used to my smart-ass attitude. He's delivered probably 80 percent of the town's population my age and under, including my brother, and I'm not even close to his worst work. He also delivered Sooner Cowans.

    "I don't feel right talking about this without your parents, Ben," he said, walking me toward the examination room. "But I guess you leave me no choice."

    "I leave you exactly that," I said. "Lay it on me."

    And lay it on me he did, and I am no longer quite so glib.

    He sat on the stainless-steel swivel stool, a hand on my knee, staring sadly.

    I said, "You're sure about this, right? There's no doubt?"

    "There's no doubt. I sent your tests to Boise and they sent them to the most reputable clinic in the country. We can run them again, but unless your blood was mixed with somebody else's — and yours is the only blood I took that day — it's pretty much a lock. We have to get right on it. Otherwise you'll be lucky to have a year."

    Doc took another blood sample, to be sure. I watched him mark it, but I knew the original tests were mine.

    "Okay," I said, rolling down my sleeve. "Lemme sit with this a minute, all right?"

    He hesitated.

    "You got no...

About the Author-
  • Chris Crutcher has written eight critically acclaimed novels, an autobiography, and one collection of short stories. He has won three lifetime achievement awards for the body of his work: the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Outstanding Literature for Young Adults, the ALAN Award for a Significant Contribution to Adolescent Literature, and the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award. He has been a child and family therapist with the Spokane Community Mental Health Center and is currently chairperson for the Spokane Child Protection Team. Chris Crutcher lives in Spokane, Washington.

Reviews-
  • DOGO Books shene - Great plot and message. The theme of the story is rather sad yet very strong. I would strongly recommend this book to those who can cope with mature themes. But one way or the other, there really is a bit of heart ache near the end of the book.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 16, 2007
    Ben Wolf, 18, goes in for a routine sports physical before his senior year and learns he has an aggressive form of leukemia and a year to live. In order to enjoy the rest of this witty and wise novel, readers will have to suspend disbelief at this point, because Ben decides to do nothing. (“I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone else, but I’m not going out bald and puking.”) He also chooses not to tell anyone and threatens legal action if his doctor breaches patient confidentiality. Readers will be treated to the thrilling last year of Ben’s life, in which the 123-pounder ditches track for football so he can play alongside his brother, Cody, the team’s star quarterback. Crutcher’s oeuvre is full of plot-heavy novels; the issues crammed into this one include alcoholism, child molestation, absent/abusive parents, bigotry, teenage motherhood and depression. But the narrative never drowns in a sea of woe. With the help of Hey-Soos, a laidback confidant who appears in Ben’s dreams, he parses the dilemmas his secret produces. Ben succeeds both on the gridiron and with the comely Dallas Suzuki. (“Submit this story to an editor and it’s returned as too much fantasy even for fantasy,” he says after she asks him to Homecoming.) Ben’s voice often sounds distinctly like the author’s, but here’s predicting readers will not care one whit. The message at the core of Crutcher’s latest—“Life’s short. Do what you love.”—is delivered inside an entertaining, thought-provoking tearjerker. Ages 14-up.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2007
    Gr 9 Up-After being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia, 18-year-old Ben Wolf elects to forgo treatment and keep his illness secret from his family and friends in an attempt to have a "normal" senior year at his small Idaho high school. Free from long-term consequences, he connects with his crush, frustrates his biased U.S. Government teacher, and tries out for football. However, Ben's illness slowly exacts its toll on him, and he begins to realize the consequences of keeping his condition hidden. Crutcher brings his signature blend of sports action and human emotion to this powerful novel. Emotionally spare but deeply touching, the relationship between Ben and his brother will resonate with many readers, while others may find the several strong father figures comforting. Secondary characters add humor and balance, though the government teacher's voice occasionally veers too far toward that of a right-wing pundit. Rudy McCoy, a former priest and child molester, evokes both compassion and revulsion through his confession of guilt and struggle to avoid hurting another child; reflecting Ben's secret-keeping behavior, McCoy serves as a foil for the destructive impact secrets can have. Some discussion of sexual molestation and child abuse is present in the text, but is not graphic or overwhelming in its depiction. Crutcher uses dark humor and self-deprecation effectively to avoid maudlin situations, and teens will appreciate the respectful tone of the work."Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library"

    Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2007
    Just before his senior year, Ben Wolf is diagnosed with a rare, incurable leukemia. At 18, he has the legal right to keep the news to himself until hes ready to reveal it. With only his doctor and therapist in on his secret, Ben sets out to live an entire lifetime in a year: There are insects that pack it all into a day, he reasons. His goals are to join his brother on the football team; learn everything he can; and ask out gorgeous Dallas Suzuki. Crutcher fits far too much into this ambitious novel, which includes subplots about incest, pedophilia, manic depression, and intellectual freedom, as well as a Jesus-like character who appears in visions. And readers may feel distanced from Ben, whose first-person voice and reactions never quite feel authentic. But, as usual, Crutcher writes vivid sports action scenes, and teens interest will be held by the storys dramatic premise, Bens unlikely turn as a football hero, love scenes with Dallas (including some mildly explicit sex), and Bens high-gear pursuit of lifes biggest questions.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2007, American Library Association.)

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  • Publisher
    HarperCollins
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