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Posted: December 5, 2021

Recommended for teens but with caveats

Book Review

By Derryll White

Laster, Eric (2016).  #static.

This is a novel for the Young Adult market, 14 and up.  Twelve-year-old Curtis Brooks starts receiving phone calls from his dead brother Wilt.  How hard is it to process grief and deal with loss when you are twelve?  Curtis gives you some idea.

As well, he sheds light on the raging hormones that normally besiege a young male entering puberty.  God, I remember this as one of the more painful and bewildering times of my youth.  The author’s treatment is not lascivious but Lester is smart to leave it as an underlying thought/ emotion/ feeling pattern.  I don’t know if this part works for young female readers, but the girls involved with this story seem awake to their own views of what life holds.

The strongest element of ‘#static’ is grief management. Curtis learns to accept his brother’s death, avenge the cause of it, work with his mother’s own loss – and through it all he becomes stronger as Curtis.  He learns to deal with his own shortcomings, to grow and inherit a future.

I liked this novel and would certainly pass it on to any teenage boy, or girl with perhaps a few caveats.  It would form part of an excellent set of texts on grieving for teens because death is dealt with in a very real and accepting way.  Thumbs up!

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Excerpts from the novel:

COMMUNICATION – People are always talking at each other, talking at each other all the time, but is anybody ever listening?

DIVORCE – Post-split, the parentals spent a couple years badmouthing each other on a daily basis, as if arguments over child-support and the slinging of blame for my having to pop meds weren’t annoying enough.  It took them that long for them to settle into mostly ignoring each other, talking only when school or doctor visits needed them to coordinate for my or Wilt’s supposed benefit.

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.


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