Review Blog

Feb 25 2010

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

cover image

Greenwillow, 2009. ISBN 9780060850913.
(Age 14+) Recommended. Imagine if, when you went to the doctor for a normal checkup, you were told that you had terminal cancer. That is what happens to 18 year old Ben Wolf, who knows that this will be his last year at school. He decides he won't tell anyone his secret and refuses treatment. He resolves to go after everything that he has dreamt about in the short time that he has left. That includes dating a beautiful girl, getting onto the football team and baiting his Civics teacher about his conservative viewpoint of history.
As well as facing a terminal illness, Ben has to come to grips with the effects his death will have on his mother, who is suffers from depression and often hides out in her room for days at a time. He is the one who usually helps her out. And he realises that he is not the only one to harbour a terrifying secret. When he gets to know Dallas Suzuki, the girl he has dreamt about, he discovers that she is concealing things too as is the lonely drunk, Rudy, whom he befriends. They trust him with what has happened in their lives and Ben is faced with the dilemma of whether he should let the people he loves know about his cancer.

Crutcher tackles some big themes in Deadline: death, mental illness, child abuse, trust, suicide and the manipulation of history, but they are woven into a engrossing story that is difficult to put down. Equally engrossing is Ben's try-out for the football team and the way he and his brother Cody work together to win. I was fascinated by Ben's arguments about racism and American History with Mr Lambeer his teacher.
Crutcher has struck just the right note with this story, which could have been a tearjerker, but instead is thought provoking with lots of humour interspersed to keep the reader going. It was one of the ALA Best Books for 2008 and certainly deserves this accolade.
Pat Pledger

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Miles Franklin longlist 2017
Reading Children's Book Prize 2017
Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist 2017
Branford Boase Award shortlist 2017
Text Prize 2017
NSW Premier Literary Awards shortlist 2017
Aurealis Awards winners
YABBA Awards shortlist 2017
Stella Prize 2017
2017 YALSA Teens' Top Ten Nominees
CBCA shortlists 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates