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Cover image for A certain October
Format:
Title:
A certain October
ISBN:
9780689865053

9781442417267

9780689870651
Edition:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, ©2012.
Physical Description:
158 pages ; 20 cm
Summary:
"Scotty compares herself to tofu: no flavor unless you add something. And it's true that Scotty's friends, Misha and Falcone, and her brother, Keone, make life delicious. But when a terrible accident occurs, Scotty feels responsible for the loss of someone she hardly knew, and the world goes wrong. She cannot tell what is a dream and what is real. Her friends are having a hard time getting through to her and her family is preoccupied with their own trauma. But the prospect of a boy, a dance, and the possibility that everything can fall back into place soon help Scotty realize that she is capable of adding her own flavor to life"--Provided by publisher.
Reading Level:
Ages 14 up.

Young Adult.

870 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 5.2.

Reading Counts! 5.6.

Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 5.2 4.0 153739.
Holds:

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Status
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YA JOHNSON
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YA FICTION JOHNSON
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TEEN FICTION Johnson, A.
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On Order

Summary

Summary

Three-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Angela Johnson writes a wrenching, honest book about surviving the unimaginable and finding a way to go on.

Scotty compares herself to tofu: no flavor unless you add something. And it's true that Scotty's friends, Misha and Falcone, and her brother, Keone, make life delicious. But when a terrible accident occurs, Scotty feels responsible for the loss of someone she hardly knew, and the world goes wrong. She cannot tell what is a dream and what is real. Her friends are having a hard time getting through to her and her family is preoccupied with their own trauma. But the prospect of a boy, a dance, and the possibility that everything can fall back into place soon help Scotty realize that she is capable of adding her own flavor to life.
With artfully spare prose, acclaimed and award-winning author Angela Johnson explores the ramifications of unexpected death in this compelling coming-of-age story.


Author Notes

Angela Johnson was born on June 18, 1961 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She attended Kent State University and worked with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) as a child development worker. She has written numerous children's books including Tell Me a Story, Mama, Shoes like Miss Alice, Looking for Red, A Cool Moonlight and Lily Brown's Paintings. She won the Coretta Scott King Author's Award three times for Toning the Sweep in 1994, for Heaven in 1999, and for The First Part Last in 2004, which also won the Michael L. Printz Award. In 2003, she was named a MacArthur fellow.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Scotty's entire life changes in a single instant one October afternoon. When the train she, her autistic brother, and a boy from school are riding crashes, only one of them walks away relatively unharmed. Scotty has to heal not only from her own minor injuries, but also from the guilt that weighs her down. The accident left her brother, Keone, in a coma and killed Kris, who had stayed on the train past his stop to help her get Keone home. Though Scotty's friends and family stand by her, she can't forgive herself enough to move on. As she faces a future where her brother may not recover, Scotty seeks out small moments that might bring joy to her life. She decides that even if she can't be happy, she can help her friends find happiness and sets out to help Misha buy the perfect dress and a date for homecoming, and to reunite her friend Falcone with his ex-boyfriend. Along the way, Scotty starts to find some peace and realizes that the accident doesn't have to be the defining point of who she becomes in the future. Young actress Harlie Vaughn narrates Johnson's coming-of-age story (S & S, 2012), giving it an authentic teen voice and emotional depth. This captivating audiobook will elicit a strong response from even the most reluctant listeners. A solid choice for high school and public libraries where emotionally heavy, realistic tales are in demand. School libraries should be cautioned that there are some sexual references and teen drinking scenes.-Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Three-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Johnson (Heaven) pens a story of dazzling immediacy set in Cleveland. Her keenly observant narrator, Scotty, 16, divides her days between attending school, dealing with her autistic younger brother, Keone; and hanging out with her friends Falcone and Misha at the Endangered Species Cafe. Scotty's chief concerns are planning for the upcoming homecoming dance and making a trip to visit Falcone's sister, Gina, who became a mother figure to Scotty after her mother died. But Scotty's world is turned upside down when she's in a train crash that kills three students, including her very recent crush, and puts Keone in a coma. Dazed, Scotty suffers from survivor's guilt ("Half of Keone's bones are broken. I got bruises and a twisted knee. Life is stupid"), fantasizing ways the crash could have been avoided. Realistic dialogue and a cast of vibrant characters give lively texture to Johnson's nonlinear narrative. Through minimal exposition and Scotty's singular voice, Johnson gracefully explores life's defining moments, whether painful or bittersweet, and how the world carries on, even when everything has changed. Ages 14-up. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

At the start of the book, Scotty is an average high school junior living in East Cleveland. She hangs out with friends, makes plans for the homecoming dance, and avoids writing a book report on Anna Karenina. All that changes when she is in a train accident that leaves her younger brother Keone (age seven, autistic) in a coma and her classmate Kris dead. After the accident, the storys events unfold in bits and pieces as Scotty comes to terms with all that has happened. She blames herself for the tragedies: if she knew how to drive, she and Keone wouldnt have been on the train; if she hadnt been flirting with Kris, he wouldnt have stayed on the train beyond his stop. For all the drama, the story is refreshingly un-angst-ridden, told instead in a cool, detached tone that allows the powerful events to speak for themselves. Just as with Johnsons The First Part Last (rev. 7/03), this slim book looks like it will be a quick read, but it turns out to be much more demanding -- and rewarding -- due to the storys complex structure and the authors gift for showing, not telling. kathleen t. horning (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Scotty's world is turned upside down when an accident leaves her brother severely injured, an acquaintance dead and Scotty feeling responsible. In the fall of Scotty's junior year of high school, it appears all she has to worry about is reading Anna Karenina and the Homecoming dance. Scotty, who has been a vegetarian since last year's visit to a dairy farm, describes her reality: "My life is like tofu--it's what gets added that makes it interesting." The most unusual thing about Scotty is her autistic, 7-year-old brother, Keone, who likes to steal cookies and run naked through the neighborhood. Her father and stepmother handle her brother without fanfare, as does Scotty, so it was normal for her to take him to the doctor and return home on the train. It is there that a tragic accident leaves Scotty injured, Keone in a coma and two students dead. Suddenly, levelheaded Scotty, healing from the physical injuries, cannot let go of the guilt she feels about the loss of one student in particular. It is only when she finds a way to reconcile two of her friends and open herself to the attention of another that she takes tentative steps toward emotional peace. Printz Award winner Johnson (The First Part Last, 2004) tells this moving story of grief and guilt with clarity and unsentimental honesty. Scotty, with her rich interior life, is realistically drawn and surrounded by a cast of well-rounded secondary characters. A wonderfully crafted and deeply satisfying novel, full of detail that provides texture and meaning. (Fiction. 14 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Scotty wants to save the planet, but she also wants to go in a limo with her gorgeous classmate Jason to the homecoming dance, even though she is a serious feminist and knows she shouldn't feel as if she has to have a date. As she hangs out in her East Cleveland neighborhood with her best friends, Misha (whose bossy aunt would want her to go to the dance in a chastity belt and a flannel gown) and Falcon (who has just broken up with his boyfriend), Scotty also cares for seven-year-old brother, who is autistic. Hilarious and tender, the wry dialogue and the first-person, present-tense contemporary narrative will easily draw readers, especially because there is more than a situation; there is a real story. After a horrific train accident and Scotty's struggles with guilt and grief, the emotional climax brings the book to a triumphant close.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist