Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: Dead Ends


Dead EndsAuthor: Erin Jade Lange
Published: February 6th 2014
Publisher: Faber Children's
Format: Hardback, 384 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Dane Washington and Billy D. couldn't be more different. Dane is clever and popular, but he's also a violent rebel. Billy D. has Down's syndrome, plays by the rules and hangs out with teachers in his lunch break.
But Dane and Billy have more in common than they think - both their fathers are missing.
They're going to have to suck up their differences and get on with helping each other. There are answers to be found.
Powerful, funny, moving - the ultimate coming-of-age novel.

Dead Ends is a simple yet wonderful tale about an unlikely friendship between two young boys, both of them social outcasts. Dane is a bully, raised by a very young single mom and angry at the world. He has no idea who his father is, and his mother, although otherwise great, refuses to divulge his identity. Dane takes out his anger on anyone who dares to look at him the wrong way, until Billy D. comes along.

Billy D. has Down syndrome. He is highly functional and pretty healthy, all things considered, but he's far from being a regular kid. He sees Dane as someone strong enough to keep him safe from all those who enjoy "hitting a retard". Being intelligent and aware of his situation makes him pretty manipulative so he somehow manages to blackmail Dane into helping him.

The last thing Dane wants to do is to get involved, but with the expulsion from school looming over his head, his choices are limited at best. He even lets himself be blackmailed into helping Billy D. locate his estranged father, which forces Dane to think about finding his own missing dad. Despite how it may seem, a friendship born from mutual understanding is inevitable between these boys. Lange doesn't try to portray either of them in a better light, but as they learn things about each other, they also discover things about themselves, partly flaws they'd rather not see, but also qualities they didn't even know they possessed. Of course their journey ends up being painful and full of unwanted revelations, but it also gives them something neither of them has ever had before - a true friend.

There isn't much I can say about the plot for fear of spoiling it, but I will say this: Dead Ends is a beautifully written, poignant story that deserves far more attention than what it's been getting. I vote that we try to change that. It's what we do, after all.


A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


18 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of this one before now Maja and I love that you liked it so much you want to spread the word about it!

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  2. I hadn't heard of this one before but it sounds different and pretty powerful. I will have to remember to pick it up from the library.

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  3. I had not heard of this one before :/

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  4. Definitely an intriguing premise, though I don't generally read contemporary books (except romance!). A definite possibility, though.

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  5. I simply must read this one Maja! My beautiful niece has Down Syndrome and I love her beyond words, so I'm already attached to Billy just from your review. I definitely want to read his story and see how his friendship with Dane progresses. Beautiful review as always:)

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  6. I love the sound of the unlikely friendship in this one.

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  7. That's one thing I love about book bloggers; they show off lesser known titles. I hadn't heard of this one either, but it sounds like a wonderful story.

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  8. This sounds like something I definitely would have wanted to read, but I hadn't heard a peep about it until your beautiful review! I especially love this "Of course their journey ends up being painful and full of unwanted revelations, but it also gives them something neither of them has ever had before - a true friend." I've added this to my must read list now, thank you for putting it on my radar!

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  9. This is why I love your blog so much, you bring amazing books to my attention that I don't think I would have heard about otherwise. Dead Ends does sound like it's a beautiful story and just by reading about it, I can tell it's going to be deep. I will actually have to see about this one myself, never heard of it before.

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  10. You are right! I haven't heard of this one and I really needed to find it. This sounds like such a great and beautiful story. I love growth in books and this one sounds like it abounds with growth!

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  11. Never heard of this one but the whole time I was reading you review I kept thinking of Of Mice and Men. Definitely sounds like an emotional read.

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  12. It's the first time I see this one but the relationship between the two boys seems really interesting and touching. It looks they had a difficult life... Thanks for the discovery!

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  13. This is completely new to me Maja and it sounds like an interesting coming of age tale. Talk about your odd friendship. I am curious. Lovely review!

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  14. I hadn't heard about this one before but it does sound fantastic and a great coming of age tale. Seems that books about friendships don't get as much attention as others.
    Great review!

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  15. I haven't heard of this one before but it sounds like such a poignant tale. Ever since Aristotle & Dante I've been on the lookout for more novels featuring male friendships, so I'll definitely be looking into this one. Thanks for throwing this on my radar, Maja!

    P.S. - I'm so curious to see what you think of Sekret! Also: I just finished Banishing the Dark and I miss Lon and Cady already! *sigh* It was so, so good though. :)

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  16. I have never heard of this one but it sounds like something I'd enjoy. I love usual stories about unusual friendships and this one sounds perfect. I haven't read much books about male friendships either. Well I should just put this one my to-read list. Great review, Maja :)

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  17. I've been meaning to read this for so long!!! I'm such a fan of Erin Jade Lange after 'Butter', and I'm really glad this one you enjoyed this one.

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