Friday, December 17, 2010

Blank Confession: By Pete Hautman



Shayne Blank is the new kid in town--but that doesn't stop him from getting into a lot of trouble very quickly. The other kids don't understand him. He's not afraid of anything. He seems too smart. And his background doesn't add up. But when he walks into the police department to confess to a murder, it quickly becomes apparent that nothing is as it seems. There's more to Shayne--and his story--than meets the eye. As the details begin to fill in, the only thing that becomes clear is that nothing about Shayne's story is clear at all.


I’ve been looking forward to this book since I read about it a few months ago. Blank Confession looked exciting, suspenseful, and well written (I’m assuming the last thing from Hautman’s previous books and level of writing in general.)

I wasn’t wrong.

Blank Confession tells a sensational story detailing the trials and troubles of drug use in schools today. But Hautman doesn’t just leave the story as a simple drugs are bad and look at what they do, instead he interlays it with a suspenseful murder mystery, a courageous yet dishonest hero, and a telling of the story from the end, allowing the reader to sit and wonder what just went on. But while the story is fantastic and the craftsmanship superb, the most impressive aspect were the characters.

In a short period of time (and words) Hautman slices to the core of each of his characters. They are interesting, unique, and humanistic, but most importantly they are well written. Mikey has obvious issues being short, but the real crux of his character flaw deals with his family issues with his father. Shayne is the complex and heroic protagonist who has unresolved issues that are not mentioned until the end of the book. And even the officer who Shayne confesses to has unresolved issues that Hautman ties into the story.

But what I found interesting about these characters is that Hautman seamlessly connects all these characters in a very realistic manner. He doesn’t have Mikey suddenly get a backbone, he doesn’t have Mikey’s sister suddenly get over big bad boys, and he doesn’t have Shayne suddenly change his personality. Instead they all remain just as they are but perhaps alter 15% over the course of the book. A very realistic change.

All in all Blank Confession is an intricate, well written book. The characters are well developed, the plot interesting, and the style masterful. While the book is short it’s defiantly worth the read, and weather readers choose to get it from the library to save money or buy it for Christmas, Blank Confession is a good read.

8.5 out of 10


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Published: November 16, 2010

Price: $16.99

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