Labor Day / Joyce Maynard.
Booklist Reviews 2009 July #1
"Stranger danger" is a concept unfamiliar to 13-year-old Henry, who befriends an injured man during one of his and his agoraphobic mother's rare shopping excursions in town—with disastrous results for all. To be fair, neither mother nor son have much worldly experience, thanks to Adele's emotional fragility following her divorce. Yet their willingness to assist a strange man has less to do with their collective lack of judgment than it does with Frank's infectious charm, a quality that will escalate over the coming days as the escaped convict and murderer holds the pair hostage in their own home. With remarkable ease, Adele falls in love with Frank. As she helps him plan a second escape to Canada, Henry fears losing the little stability he has ever known. Told from Henry's point of view, Maynard's inventive coming-of-age tale indelibly captures the anxiety and confusion inherent in adolescence, while the addition of a menacing element of suspense makes this emotionally fraught journey that much more harrowing. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2009 June #2
The summer Henry turned 13, he had many questions about sex, "but it was clear my mother was not the person to discuss this with." A dancer, pretty like Ginger from Gilligan's Island, Adele had withdrawn from the world after her divorce from Henry's dad. Mother and son lead a lonely life together, subsisting on stacks of Cap'n Andy frozen fish dinners while Adele half-heartedly tries to sell vitamins by phone. Adele rarely leaves home, except when pressed to get Henry some last-minute back-to-school clothes. It's at Pricemart that the wounded pair meets Frank, a man with much to teach them about true love, baseball, and the best way to make a ripe peach pie. VERDICT There's a catch, of course—Frank's just escaped from prison, and there's a full-fledged manhunt underway. This coming-of-age story is gentle, unexpected, and simply told. An easy purchase. [The publisher is touting this as a change of pace from the author of To Die For; this was a pick at BookExpo 2009's Librarians' Book Shout and Share program.—Ed.]—Christine Perkins, Bellingham P.L., WA[Page 63]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
PW Reviews 2009 June #2
In her sixth novel, Maynard (To Die For) tells the story of a long weekend and its repercussions through the eyes of a then 13-year-old boy, Henry, who lives with his divorced mother, Adele. On Labor Day weekend, Henry manages to coax his mother, who rarely goes out, into a trip to PriceMart, where they run into Frank, who intimidates them into giving him a ride. Frank, it turns out, is an escaped convict looking for a place to hide. He holds Adele and Henry hostage in their home, an experience that changes all of them forever, whether it's Frank tying Adele to the kitchen chair with her silk scarves and lovingly feeding her or teaching the awkward, unathletic Henry how to throw a baseball. The bizarre situation encompasses Henry's budding adolescence, the awakening of his sexuality and his fear of being abandoned by his mother and Frank, who are falling in love and planning to run away together. Maynard's prose is beautiful and her characters winningly complicated, with no neat tie-ups in the end. A sometimes painful tale, but captivating and surprisingly moving. (Aug.)[Page 27]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.