By Brian James
(Push, Hardcover, 9780439796231, 304pp.)
Publication Date: February 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Benji has to escape his home. His mother's boyfriend has crossed the line, and Benji can't deal with it anymore. So he leaves behind everything he knows to go live with his father and stepmother in Portland. His stepmother is nice, but he doesn't trust her. His father is testy, refusing to trust Benji. And Benji ... he's just trying not to self-destruct.In this spellbinding novel, Brian James surpasses his previous work to take his place among Adam Rapp, Melvin Burgess, and Kevin Brooks on the razor's edge of teen literature.
Author: James, Brian
\\\\\\\\James, Brian. Dirty Liar. Feb. 2006. 286p. Scholastic/Push, $16.99 (0-439-79623-7).
Gr. 912. Benji (also known as Dogboy) has a compelling story. It is written in hard, first-person language, and there is fear and drugs and cursing and more fear, but it is also deeply poetic. Benji has moved from his alcoholic mother's trailerbut more important away from her abusive boyfriendto live with his distant and controlling father and his wife. Benji, who keeps a journal to try to name and define his demons, calls both his former girlfriend and Rianna, the new girl he clings to, his angels. He hopes that somehow, in some way, they will save him. Benji has to save himself, but it is the open and gentle persistence of his stepmother, and the realization that Rianna, too, has demons to fight, that allow him to do so. Powerful, compelling, and, in the end, almost sweet. GraceAnne A. DeCandido