A powerful and suspenseful novel from an award-winning author. Something happened on Wednesday, 25 November, 2.43 p.m. to cause Branwell Zamborska to become mute. All anyone knows is that he called the emergency services because his baby sister, Nikki, had stopped breathing, and from then he has been unable to speak. The au pair reveals that ...
A powerful and suspenseful novel from an award-winning author. Something happened on Wednesday, 25 November, 2.43 p.m. to cause Branwell Zamborska to become mute. All anyone knows is that he called the emergency services because his baby sister, Nikki, had stopped breathing, and from then he has been unable to speak. The au pair reveals that Branwell had dropped Nikki and shaken her. Branwell is sent to a Juvenile behavioural centre, and his friend Connor begins the long process of communicating with him. So begins a complex, emotionally-tense tale of adolescent confusion and suspense.;From the brilliant Newbery Medal-winning author of "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" and "The View from Saturday".;A gripping read for older readers growing in confidence.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-10-09 HWith this impeccably crafted novel two-time Newbery Medalist Konigsburg (The View from Saturday) again demonstrates her keen insight into the needs and tastes of a middle-grade audience. Here she ventures into what seemsDfor herDunusually dark territory. The story begins with a transcript of a 911 phone call. The caller himself (shortly afterward identified as 13-year-old Branwell Zamborska) appears silent, then a young British woman (an au pair) takes the phone and says that a six-month baby is unconscious: "He dropped her." As the comatose baby undergoes hospitalization, Branwell is struck mute and brought to a county facility for disturbed youths while prosecutors weigh charges against him. Young readers, unlikely to recall Louise Woodward and the Eappens, will be rapt as Konigsburg slowly unravels the true circumstances of the baby's accident and of Branwell's silence. Connor, Branwell's best friend, narrates and serves as detective, ingeniously finding a way to prise clues out of Branwell and piece them together. He enlists the help of his 20-something half-sister Margaret, one of those brilliant, slightly cryptic and idiosyncratic heroines Konigsburg fashions so well. In her classic style, the author inlays the plot with intriguing facts that prove significant (e.g., a Frenchman paralyzed completely except for his left eye "wrote" a book by having a friend recite the alphabet, then blinking when she came to the letter he needed). Along the way, Konigsburg also investigates the dynamics of step-families, preadolescent sexuality and other knotty subjectsDthe extraordinary achievement here is that she joins every element so seamlessly in the service of her gripping story. Ages 10-14. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-12 "This middle-grade novel combines a plot loosely based on a real case with a taut psychological mystery. The author inlays the story with tantalizing facts and peoples it with her hallmark idiosyncratic characters and joins every element seamlessly," said PW's Best Books citation. Ages 10-14. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2000-12-11 The latest from Newbery Medalist Konigsburg?a taut novel with the momentum of a detective story?never catches fire in this ultimately disappointing audio adaptation. When his infant half sister Nikki appears unconscious, 13-year-old Branwell Zamborska rushes to call for help. But when the 911 operator asks him for key information, Branwell cannot speak; he's been struck mute, seemingly by the tragic, frightening situation. The family's British au pair completes the emergency call and accuses Branwell of injuring the baby. While Nikki lies in a coma at the hospital, Branwell is sent to a facility for troubled youths. It's there that Branwell's best friend Connor Kane devises a code for communicating with Branwell and, with help from his older half sister Margaret, begins to untangle the truth about what really happened to Nikki. Konigsburg's crisply drawn tale crackles on the page as narrated by Connor. But McGillin never truly inhabits Connor's skin. He seems to strain for a chipper, youthful intonation in each sentence. And with this forced rhythm, McGill fails to convey the emotional intensity and suspense of the text. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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