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It's a hot summer and in the depths of the Toronto Transit Authority's lost and found, 17-year-old Duncan is cataloging misplaced belongings. And between Jacob, the cranky old man who runs the place, and the endless dusty boxes overflowing with stuff no one will ever claim, Duncan has just about had enough. Then he finds a little leather book filled with the dark and dirty secrets of a twisted mind, a serial killer stalking his prey in the subway. And Duncan can't stop reading. What would you do with a book like ...
It's a hot summer and in the depths of the Toronto Transit Authority's lost and found, 17-year-old Duncan is cataloging misplaced belongings. And between Jacob, the cranky old man who runs the place, and the endless dusty boxes overflowing with stuff no one will ever claim, Duncan has just about had enough. Then he finds a little leather book filled with the dark and dirty secrets of a twisted mind, a serial killer stalking his prey in the subway. And Duncan can't stop reading. What would you do with a book like that? How far would you go to catch a madman?
Winner of the 2004 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Book
This is a nightmare.
Working at the Toronto Transit Commission's lost and found. Nine to five. Monday to Friday. A little slice of death, one day at a time.
For me it's a two-month sentence, July and August. I would have been happy bumming around till September, but Dad called in a favor to get me in here. And at least I don't have to wear a uniform like my bud Wayne over at the Dairy Barn. Wayne's planning to torch the thing on Labor Day (the uniform, not the Barn) before we head back for our last year of high school.
So I'm here under protest, a political prisoner of the capitalist overlord otherwise known as Dad.
Here's the one-minute tour of the place. First, to get here you have to come to Bay subway station and take the service elevator down to the subbasement. At the end of the hall to your left you'll find the door marked lost and found. Jacob, my supervisor, sits at the front counter cataloguing the lost junk that comes in from the buses and subways in the transit system. If you think of a half-deflated soccer ball with two of the hairiest ears you've ever seen attached to it, you've got a good picture of Jacob. Past the counter there's a maze of stacks holding row after row, shelf after dusty shelf of lost stuff.
I'm trying on a black leather jacket in the stacks when the bell at the counter dings. The jacket's term expires in a week, so it'll soon be appearing in my closet as part of the Duncan collection. One ding of the bell means Jacob needs me to search for something. Two dings means hurry up. Three dings—things get ugly.
When I get to the counter, Jacob's asking an old woman about the weather up on the surface. Spending eight hours a day in this dungeon, you tend to forget that the sun is still shining up there.
"They say it's going to hit a hundred and three today," the woman tells him. "Not a cloud in the sky."
It's been six weeks with no rain. Major heat wave. But down here you'd never know. The city could be bombed to ashes and we'd still be here sorting through the piles.
"Duncan, we're looking for a pair of glasses," Jacob tells me. "Silver frames. Bifocals."
I sigh. "Right. This might take a while."
Eyeglasses rank in the top four on the list of most often lost items, right up there with umbrellas, cell phones, and books.
I'm the runner, the one who does the actual searching. Jacob does the actual sitting.
I don't know who did this job before me—don't know if anybody did it before me—but the place is a mess. The way it works, stuff gets held here for three months. Everything's got a Post-it with an expiration date. Anything unclaimed gets boxed up for the quarterly sale down at the YMCA. But if you poke around, you'll find stuff that's been here for two years or more. I pulled a college sweater off the top shelf the other day, and the dust coming off it drifted down like snow.
Lost junk is organized in sections. All the jackets are together, including my black leather beauty. Dozens of umbrellas are heaped in a pile, enough rain protection to keep every last flea on Noah's ark dry. There's a library of forgotten books overflowing the packed shelves. And there are two boxes of eyeglasses, separated into sunglasses and regular. I dig in.
There's an amazing variety, everything from prescription swimming goggles to your basic thick-black-framed geek glasses to your old-lady specials with the necklace holders attached to the arms. I find a pair that fits the lady's description—bifocals, silver frames. Holding them up to peer through the lenses, I see they've got enough magnifying power to count the hairs on a mosquito's butt.
"That's them," the old woman says after trying them on.
Jacob makes her sign the claims book, as if the glasses are worth more than the dollar they'd get at the Y sale.
"I'm lost without these," she tells us. "I'm so blind without them, I didn't realize until I was halfway here that I'd put hand lotion on my face instead of sunscreen. I can already feel a burn starting up."
Jacob nods. "Yeah. With the holes in the ozone and global warming, the sun's not as friendly as it used to be."
The woman shivers, pulling her jacket closed. "Well, it's certainly cool down here."
"We're about fifty feet underground—deeper than the subway tunnels—so the temperature stays a constant cool year-round. This must be what it feels like to be buried alive." That's Jacob's idea of funny. I think he's been down here too long.
The woman gives him a nervous look and mumbles her thanks as she makes for the door.
"You've really got a way with the ladies," I say when she's gone.
I fill a paper cup at the cooler, leaning on it as it gurgles to itself, and watch the clock crawl toward eternity. Jacob goes back to reading the newspaper.
Past him, there's a glass case on the wall that once held a fire axe but now has an artificial leg standing inside. That leg is like the official mascot of all the forgotten junk in the lost and found. There's a worn-down blue men's Puma running shoe on its foot, and it's obviously been well used. It always gets me wondering—how do you lose something like that? I mean, didn't the guy notice something was missing when he went hopping off the subway—that the world was bouncing up and down more than usual? What happened, that he never came back to claim it? Jacob says the thing's been here for three years.
1. If you had found the diary, what would you have done?
2. Duncan’s summer job sounds awful and depressing; he works underground for most of the day. What other horrible summer jobs can you think of? What do you think would be a good summer job?
3. Duncan works in a lost and found, surrounded by other people’s belongings. Have you ever lost something important to you? Did you eventually get it back?
4. Duncan and his friends, Vinny and Wayne, are all very different from each other. How does their friendship work?
5. Where do you think Duncan, Wayne, and Vinny will be four years from now?
6. Why do you think the police ignore Duncan’s pleas to look into the diary? Is it because he’s a kid? What would you have done in Duncan’s situation?
7. Do people like Roach really exist? Why would someone act that way?
8. People tell Duncan, “Don’t be a hero.” What do they mean by that?
Posted April 10, 2009
Book Review Outline
Book title and author: Acceleration by: Graham McNamee
Title of review: Accelerate in A Great Thriller
Number of stars:
If you start to read this wonderful, pulse pounding book, you'll not be able to put it down. I read this book in one day, front to back. This is a great thriller and the author did a great job of capturing the details and emotions. The characters are great, and you feel as if you are them while reading. Please read this book, If you do.you'll never regret it!
Description and summary of main points
This book is about a seventeen year old boy named Duncan that works for the lost and found in a very popular subway. One day, doing his daily rounds, he discovers a brown journal, that he later finds out is owned by a serial killer. The book held all of his plans and the descriptions of his prey. It seemed as if he kept all of his crimes written down and all the newspaper clippings of the crimes. But, as he was reading, Duncan noticed that the last couple of pages in the journal had no date on them. He realized that now he had a serial killer on the loose going after these poor girls. The killer was going to work out his plan, and soon. Duncan had to formulate a plan and stalk the stalker, kill the killer. This was going to be a mighty task, but he had courage, he had strength.
How Graham creates such a picture and emotion in the story is just amazing. He adds great sensory details and states his points obviously, but creatively also. At the end of every chapter, he'll surprise you..I guess so that you want to read the next chapter to find out what's going on. That's exactly how it was with me; I heard something new about the characters and freaked out wanting to know what it was about.
This is the greatest book ever written for man. If you haven't read it yet, you need to. I am the type of person that doesn't like to read much..it makes no sense to me. But, I got lucky and picked up Acceleration and just really fell in love, fell in love with the book and it led me to fall in love with just reading.
Your final review
This book leads you right into the story. Most books start off slow and get good in the end, but this book starts off strong and gets your heart beating. You just can't put it down, you can try, but you won't succeed.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 27, 2011
This is one of those books that keeps you awake at night or causes your. mind to wander while sitting in a math class. It is truly a great novel, well written,full of suspense and nail biting action. I would recomend this to anyone.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 25, 2008
Duncan is having a very boring summer, working at his mind-numbing job at the Toronto Transit Authority's lost and found. He sorts through old junk no one wants anymore and boxes up all of the "expired" items to be donated. <BR/><BR/>One very ordinary day he was looking for a book to read when he comes across a brown leather bound journal. He begins reading it and soon figures out that the person who is writing this is seriously deranged! It's like this journal is the book of weird and twisted science experiments this person has been conducting. There are even women in the book that he follows that he plans on killing. <BR/><BR/>Duncan, along with his two best friends, take it upon themselves to find out who this freak is! <BR/><BR/>I really liked this book. The story is very addictive; I couldn't put it down!
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 13, 2013
While reading acceleration I greatly enjoyed it. I felt that the author did a outstanding job of presenting the story.
I personally can not relatte to the story, however I feel that on a much lower level other readers can.
The theme is that you should never get what is not yours because it may bring you problems.
For example if Duncan never found the Diary then he would have had a whole summer to go to the pool or mall, insted he was tracking down this man.
The author keeps you on your toes and keeps readers interested.
I would reccomend Acceleration to any one.
Posted July 9, 2013
ACCELERATION is a well-written roller coaster of a suspense novel! I would definitely recommend this to anyone except those who are squeamish. It is not as graphic as Thomas Harris's writing, but the themes make it more suitable for a mature teen reader. Delightfully spooky!
Posted May 8, 2013
0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2013
Well, since a summary isn't truly necesarry, i'll jutjump into the review. Acceleration has an interesting idea behind it.
Duncan, is slightly relateable, but his 'dark past' trope didn't really do anything for me. While it gave Duncan a reason to try and save the woman that the killer was stalking, the author could have stopped throwing it in our face every few paragraphs.
As for supporting characters, I didn't really paytoo much attention to them either, as they were mostly 2D walking tropes.
The villian himself was probably the most interesting part of the novel. Not to give much away, let's just say he didn't have an normal childhood. I don'tknow much about criminology, so I can't really verify any of the facts about the criminal mind that the books throws at you.
Overall, not a bad book but not one i'll really remmember a few months down the road.
Posted July 21, 2012
This book was full of suspence and mistery. It always kept me guessing and it wasnt one of those books where u figured out the problem early. I dnt figure it out untill the book told me! I recoment thisbook for kids 14+ bc it was grusum nd very descriptive in the crimes..but over all very well written!
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Posted January 11, 2012
I didnt like this book one bit, i borrowed it from my teacher cuz he said it was good...in my opinion it was the worst book ive ever read...it didnt keep my attention, i would never take it home to read it..i would only read it wen i absolutely HAD too, i wouldnt recommend this at all!!!!
0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 4, 2011
Posted October 18, 2011
Someone asked if this was a early teen book and yes I think it could be for anyone over the age of 12... maybe 11 depending on how much they like this type pf book. There is hardly any bad language which is hard to find in a good book, it caught me from the begining, great character formation. Overall very very good book!!!!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2011
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Posted October 6, 2008
I reviewed this text along side others for consideration in the Young Adult Classroom. Graham McNamee¿s Acceleration, winner of the ALA best book for Young Adults, proves to be as the award proclaims, ¿appealing and quality for readers between 12-18.¿ Acceleration is a graphic and narrative blend of realistic fiction that plays with traditional elements of the Psycho Thriller and Mystery novel. The novel takes off in the Toronto Transit lost and found department. Seventeen year old Duncan is reluctantly working to catalog lost and found belongings when he stumbles across a leather bound journal of dark secrets and murderous desires. After some encouragement from his friends he decides to submit the plans to harm an unknown girl on the subway to the police, only to find that they are not too interested in the pursuit. Duncan enlists the help of his two close friends and together they research the journal logs of criminal patterns, and scope the library to try to determine the next move of the potential serial killer. The Psycho Thriller elements, a violent resolution and Duncan¿s mental and emotional conflicts, offer both fast pace and action for the reader. Duncan, a teenager turned amateur detective, poses as the hero- one who possibly saves an innocent girl. But is he? Or is he just a glorified Vigilante, a person who ignores the due processes of law to enact his own form of justice? You will have to decide!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2008
Biography: Graham McNamee was born in Toronto, Canada, in August of 1967. His writing began in high school when he took a creative writing course. He got suspended for being 'overly confrontational', and failed the course. A few years down the road, he entered a competition for writing a young adult novel. Whoever won got their book published. Graham ended up coming in second place, but his book was published anyway. That was his first book, Hate You which is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. His next novel, Sparks, won the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. Acceleration is his third and latest novel which received the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery. Currently, Graham McNamee works at the Vancouver Public Library. Summary: There¿s a killer on the loose and Duncan, a high school student, becomes the detective after finding the psycho¿s diary at the Lost and Found. The diary is full of the killer¿s thoughts and past actions which lead Duncan to believe the man is out to get more. No one else knows about the diary, except Duncan¿s friend, Vinny, and the police who show no interest in the matter. Vinny and Duncan discover all sorts of clues to in order to crack the case, yet some fall through. In the end, Duncan¿ wait, what am I doing? The end is for you to find out. Read Acceleration and find out whether the killer is caught or not! Review: Now I know why they have the saying ¿Don¿t judge a book by its cover.¿ I expected the story to be a bit more frightening due to the design of the cover, but once I began to read it and got further and further into it, it was not what I predicted it to be. I enjoyed the book and was constantly caught into what the main character, Duncan, was doing and thinking. His interest in the diary and wanting to find the guy kept me anxious to discover what would happen. I did not expect the ending to be what it was. I thought there would be a bigger and exciting ending. The descriptions and events kept my attention throughout. I loved book and would recommend it to any young reader who loves a mystery!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 28, 2008