Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review: The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

Author website:

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk

Man, I have just blazed through a couple books in a couple days after being in a reading slump. To make it even better, the books I have read are all acceptable for middle school. This novel is another book that I enjoyed. It tells the tale of a deaf fat kid who is trying public school for the first time and finds himself involved in trying to fit in while solving a crime that occurs in a cave during a field trip. This book was laugh out loud funny. I really want to share some of my favorite passages, but I won't ruin the jokes for you. You will have to read them yourself.

This book contains the two elements that most middle school students are looking for when reading: humor and mystery. There is so much sarcastic humor it is ridiculous. While you are enjoying the viewpoints from the deaf narrator you are also trying to solve the crime. What I liked best about this book is that the main character has a disability, but he does not view it this way nor does it dwell on the issue. Rather, the deaf element of the story is what really makes this book so enjoyable. It brings to light typical issues in a very humorous way. Go out and check this author out. This is his debut and he might be another author for me to add to my list. This book will be added to my book-talk list and I will be promoting this book because I think there is great appeal with this novel.

Here is another the review/summary from

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 8 Up—Will Halpin has ditched his former "deaf school" and is now trying to merge into the auditory-able mainstream at Carbon High in eastern Pennsylvania. As the new, overweight kid who has to sit off to the side during classes so he can try to read the lips of both his teachers and his classmates, Will—no slouch when it comes to reading human reactions—quickly downsizes his social expectations and retreats back into the soundless cocoon of his own skull. Luckily for readers, it's darkly hilarious in there. That's this debut novel's most potent hook: the opportunity to spend some quality time inside the precociously perceptive and sardonically witty head of this ultimate outsider as he visually eavesdrops—and rips on—the sick subtleties of a typical high school's social order. What teens wouldn't want to have Will's skills as he, notebook in hand, monitors the school bus mirror and pieces together what all the cool kids are talking about? Most, Will discovers, as he deftly dissects personalities and devilishly deconstructs high school culture, are slavishly focused on being invited to an exclusive party being thrown by popular jock Pat. But when Pat dies during a field trip to a defunct coal mine, under suspicious circumstances, the story morphs into an engaging mystery as Will reluctantly accepts the unsettlingly friendly overtures of a quirky classmate bent on enlisting him as a partner in some amateur sleuthing. A coming-of-age mash-up of satire, realistic fiction, mystery, and ill-fated teen romance, The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin is a genre-bending breakthrough that teens are going to love.—Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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