I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Period 8 by Chris Crutcher
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 26th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
In this full-length novel from Chris Crutcher, his first since the best-selling Deadline, the ultimate bully and the ultimate good guy tangle during Period 8.
Paul “the Bomb” Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was something he learned at Sunday School. But telling the truth can cause problems, and not minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately) and his other classmates don’t know is that the ultimate bully, the ultimate liar, is in their midst.
Terrifying, thought-provoking, and original, this novel combines all the qualities of a great thriller with the controversy, ethics, and raw emotion of a classic Crutcher story.
Period 8… what are you? Full disclosure: if I hadn’t received an ARC of this, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. I’m not a big contemporary person, and this isn’t contemporary romance either – which is what I normally pick up from the genre. So the fact that it absorbed me like it did and made me enjoy it so much is really surprising. It was just a great read.
I dove into this book without even really reading the blurb. I think I read it once a few months ago, but that means it long since faded from my memory. I had no idea what to expect and I think that worked in my favor – because looking later, the book is described as “the ultimate bully and the ultimate good guy tangle during Period 8”. If I had read that, I would have expected a way different story. Period 8 is much more a subtle, character-driven novel, and not nearly as action-packed/plot-driven as that quote would lead me to believe. So, readers, take care.
Period 8 is like a touching contemporary high school story but with an interesting mysterious twist. Especially the high school elements just touched me so much. Paulie, the main character, has a really close relationship with one of his teachers, Logs. Logs is the teacher that you can tell everything to, and thus he created Period 8, during lunch, where students can talk about whatever’s on their minds. That relationship was just so heartfelt to me. I had a similar kind of relationship with one of my high school teachers, so that made the story much more dear to my heart than perhaps some other readers’.
A lot of my liking of this novel stems from the awesome writing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading quite a few debuts lately, but halfway through this book I just took a moment to revel in how well-written it was. You could tell Chris Crutcher is a talented author. His writing sucks you in, and that makes me pretty curious to check out his other works.
I also liked the pacing of the novel. The first half focuses very much on the different characters and their relationships with each other – it’s more subtle and slow-moving. However, shortly after you cross the halfway point, the mystery really kicks in. Odd things are happening to the students, and some of them are acting really weird, but why? And who is behind it? I was absorbed. I wanted the answers and really just didn’t stop reading until I reached the end.
The ending did leave more to be desired. Considering the blurb really pushes this idea of “the ultimate bully, the ultimate liar”, you would think (and hope) you’d find out more about the bully’s mentality and motivations, especially considering the way he bullies people. But that all stays fairly behind the scenes and we don’t get to see that. That, ultimately, is the biggest disappointment in this novel and makes it a little less memorable.