Abuse, Book Review, Death, Greenwillow Books, Mental Illness, YA Fiction

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Yes, after re-posting Whale Talk last week, I felt like another dose of Chris Crutcher, and I wasn’t disappointed.

But I have to say, and this will sound strange, the minute Doc said it, I felt a congruence. I’ve never pictured myself over twenty; never really thought I would be. I’ve had this dream since grade school…It’s as if the universe slipped a long time ago and revealed to me my destiny.

When Doc Wagner told Ben Wolf he was dying from a blood disease and would be lucky to have a year, Ben told the Doc he would do nothing. No treatments, “no going out bald and puking”, and no telling his family. Ben was going to live life to the fullest in the year he had.

I’ve traded in the running for football, increased my reading time exponentially, and . . . well, Dallas Suzuki, brace yourself.

So, his senior year weighing in at 123 lbs, he quits cross country and goes out for football, he vows to ask Dallas Suzuki out on a date, and he plans to make the conservative Mr. Lambeer’s life a living hell by completing his U.S. Government class project by getting enough signatures on a petition to name a street in Trout, Idaho, after Malcolm X. After all in Ben’s words, “he was blessed with nothing to lose.”

The story is told entirely from Ben’s perspective. His wry sense of humor is a good distraction from the seriousness of his situation and there are indeed several laugh-out-loud moments. Ben is an extremely dynamic character. He continued to stick to his ideals and in his own time confessed to his family and friends about his circumstances realizing the impact he has on all of them.

Ben’s relationship with his brother Cody is very close and significant. Perhaps that is why Cody appeared not to be as surprised or shattered by Ben’s announcement that he was dying. Who knew his brother better than himself? His unwavering support is the pinnacle of brotherhood.

Chris Crutcher’s books are a roller coaster of emotions and Deadline is no exception. It has everything from sports, romance, family issues and a bond between brothers. There are also some hard-hitting subjects such as death, sexual abuse, and suicide.

I recommend this wonderful read for young and old alike!



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Chris Crutcher grew up in Cascade, Idaho, and now lives in Spokane, Washington. He is the critically acclaimed author of six novels and a collection of short stories for teenagers, all chosen as ALA Best Books. In 2000, he was awarded the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award, honoring his lifetime contribution in writing for teens. Drawing on his experience as an athlete, teacher, family therapist, and child protection specialist, he unflinchingly writes about real and often-ignored issues that face teenagers today.