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The Monster Variations

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This fast-paced read will keep readers on the edge of their seats!

Someone is killing boys in a small town. The murder weapon is a truck, and the only protection is a curfew enacted to keep kids off the streets. But it’s summer—and that alone is worth the risk of staying out late for James, Willie, and Reggie.

Willie, who lost his arm in the first hit-and-run attack, finds it hard to keep up with his two best friends as they leave childhood behind. All of them are changing, hounded by their parents, hunted by the killer, and haunted by the “monster,” a dead thing that guards the dangerous gateway between youth and manhood. But that’s not all: shadowing the boys everywhere is Mel Herman, the mysterious and brilliant bully whose dark secrets may hold the key to their survival. As the summer burns away, these forces collide, and it will take compassion, brains, and guts for the boys to overcome their demons—and not become monsters themselves.

In this chilling and poignant debut novel, Daniel Kraus deftly explores the choices boys grapple with and the revelations that occur as they become men.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 24, 2009 – Kraus's stark debut never quite feels completely comfortable in its own skin, but still delivers a moving story and points to a huge amount of potential for the author. When the summer begins with two accidents in which children are hit by a truck one is killed and the other loses his arm a curfew is imposed in Kraus's unnamed town. Determined to enjoy themselves, three 12-year-olds Reggie, James and Willie (the maimed first victim of the mysterious driver) go on adventures including breaking into school, stealing the skeletal monster an older boy keeps in his barn and investigating the school bully's possible ties to the killer. The bully, Mel, is easily the most intriguing character, volatile and socially inept, but also brilliant and artistic. Kraus meshes the uncertainty of adolescence with the dangerous knowledge of an adult world in which people have affairs and kill children the boys' growing awareness of this world is the true horror. An unnecessary framing sequence and the general absence of girls (even as objects of the boys' attention) undermine the book's intensity, but the tragic ending is still powerful. Ages 12 up.
The Monster Variations
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  • $6.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Horror, Monsters & Ghosts
  • Published: Aug 11, 2009
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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