Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: Period 8, by Chris Crutcher

While Period 8 provides and interesting story, I did have some problems with the book.

Paul is a member of "Period 8," a class that certain students attend at Heller High. You can talk about anything you want, or just listen. It's basically just a bull session. Paul makes a big mistake - he cheats on his long-time girlfriend, Hannah. And, he feels so bad he has to tell her. Of course they break up, and this is the beginning of a big mess. All is not what it seems (and that's an understatement) and the mess involves many more students than just Hannah and Paul.

I'm being purposefully vague, because I have to be. You really need to go into Period 8 without knowing what it's about.

Period 8 is a unique, creative story. I can't say I've read anything like it before. I've read some reviews that say it's about bullying, but what is happening in this school is way different than traditional bullying. So I wouldn't call it a bullying book.

The difficulties I had with Period 8 are the slow pace at the beginning and the far-fetched premise. We are about half way through the book before anything really out of the ordinary occurs. There's a lot of build up -- setting up the characters and their histories. Too much build up, in my opinion. For half the book, I had no idea where this story was headed. And, I don't mean that in a good way. It's just a bunch of high school students that have this special relationship because of this class. So what?

Secondly, when you do find out who the bad guys are and why these things are happening, I really didn't buy it. I was fascinated and intrigued, but in reality, I can't see anything like this really happening and going on for so long without people finding out about it. It's a bit over the top for me.

Period 8 is well written, relatable, short, and realistically portrays high school relationships. For that reason, I can easily recommend it to my students. The ending is very exciting, and I don't think they will be as critical as I am about the premise.

Published by Greenwillow Books, March 26, 2013
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
288 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. great review. I had higher hopes for this book. I may eventually still read it but not in a hurry. I hate when a book is so over the top its unbelievable- unless its a spy book then it doesn't matter.

  2. I don't have a problem with things being over the top - if they are supposed to be. It does bother me when books are portrayed as realistic and you can't buy into the plot. I think you're right about hs students though, they are probably much more forgiving than adults!

  3. I have a hit or miss relationship with Crutcher books. I think sometimes he tries to do too much all at once. Glad to hear that it is relatable. Wondering if I should look into this one for my reluctant readers.

  4. I went into this not really knowing what it was about except the book actually has a blurb on the print copy that says it IS about bullying, which is the problem I had with it since that's what I was expecting--a book about bullying. When it's really just about some psycho who though he was king shit. God I hated this book so hard! Hahah. Glad you enjoyed it more than I did though >.<

  5. I'm definitely intrigued! ;) I'll be sure to check out this one!

  6. Glad you were able to find some value in this one, especially with regard to the realistic relationships. I've read several reviews that discussed the more far-fetched aspects of the story, so I think I'll probably end up skipping this one, but teens might find it more enjoyable for sure. Wonderful review!

  7. Chris Crutcher intrigues me, and I really should read more of his works. He is banned and challenged so often! What do you think could be challenged with this book?

    1. Well, if you ask me, nothing. But there is promiscuity -- no sex, but some "hooking up." There might be a little cussing, but I can never remember.

  8. I think I have this one coming in a few months from Junior Library Guild. I am a Crutcher fan and have found quite a few boys who enjoy reading him, too. I was just thinking, today as a matter of fact, that I should order the book sooner. have you read any of his other books? I'm curious for comparison sake.

  9. That sounds a little bit like another book I read called "Head Games" by Casey Lever. It's Australian, so it might be a little bit difficult to track down, but it's well worth doing so.



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