Black Rabbit Summer
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Black Rabbit Summer

4.0 11
by Kevin Brooks

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As kids they were tight. Now they've grown up—and apart. Before going their separate ways for good, they decide to get together one last time.

Just like old times.

Just the five of them.

Saturday night.

Nicole asked. How could Pete say no?

But past hurts, personal histories, soon surface, and the party's over. The group


As kids they were tight. Now they've grown up—and apart. Before going their separate ways for good, they decide to get together one last time.

Just like old times.

Just the five of them.

Saturday night.

Nicole asked. How could Pete say no?

But past hurts, personal histories, soon surface, and the party's over. The group splinters off into the darkness. Into the noise and heat and chaos of the summer carnival.

Days later, a girl goes missing. And each of them is a suspect in her disappearance. Pete doesn't know what to believe. Could one of their own, one of the old gang, be a killer?

A tough, tense mystery twined with an emotional coming-of-age take, Black Rabbit Summer explores the ways sex, love, class, and celebrity can forever change—or—end friendships.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Sinister yet seductive, this brooding thriller bears all the Brooks (Lucas) hallmarks, chiefly the British author's painful awareness of teenage alienation, made urgent by violent events; and a marked taste for ambiguity. Five teens precede a trip to a carnival with a visit to their long-abandoned hideout; as the narrator, Pete, explains, all five used to be friends, now they see one another as "people you used to know." The next morning, one of them is missing-Raymond, a borderline type who believes his black rabbit can talk to him-as is a local girl turned wild-child celebrity, seen taunting Raymond the previous evening. As the police hunt for the starlet, Pete alone worries about Raymond and begins trying to track him. Brooks calibrates the relationships among these characters with such subtlety that readers get swept up even by the MacGuffins, and it's in the characters' hidden histories that Pete finds his clues. A running motif about the relationship between close observation and intuition might encourage readers to pay unusually strict attention; it will equip them for the semi-open ending. Ages 12-up. (July)

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KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
Five old friends about to head off for colleges and jobs decide to get together one last time at the local carnival. Pete, age 16, tells the story of how he meets up with Raymond, Pauly, Nicole, and Eric—and how oddball Raymond and their old classmate Stella, now a celebrity, both abruptly vanish. Pete sets out to find Raymond, and along the way discovers surprising secrets about the people he thought he knew, as well as an enemy who will do anything to keep him quiet. Drugs and sex play a role in the plot, and the language is adult. This dark and complicated mystery tackles the nature of friendships, loyalty and betrayal. Long but suspenseful, this will appeal to fans of British author Brooks's other fine work, like Lucas, Martyn Pig and The Road of the Dead. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
VOYA - Joyce Doyle
It all starts with a phone call. Pete is having a lazy summer between high school and college when his old friends decide to get together one last time before they go their separate ways. The group meets at their childhood "hideout," where they drink and smoke pot before separating and heading out to the traveling fair nearby. But the evening goes terribly wrong, and by morning, Pete's best friend, Raymond, is missing along with a local starlet the four friends once knew. Are the disappearances connected? What do Pete's friends know about it? Feeling as though the police do not care about Raymond as much as the media frenzy around the starlet, Pete is compelled to find out what happened and tries to piece together details in his alcohol- and drug-blurred memory, uncovering dangerous secrets on the way. Brooks is well known for his edgy fiction, and this novel is no different. The reader puts together clues right along with Pete as he slowly clears his fuzzy memory. Each detail reveals more questions, and clues are linked without any sense of being contrived or forced. Add Pete's attempts to figure out who is really a friend-or if anyone was ever a real friend-and even a non-mystery reader will want to find the answers in this story. Reviewer: Joyce Doyle
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

For Pete, the summer after high school graduation is quiet and a bit lonely since his friends have drifted apart. When "the old gang" decides to meet one last time, Pete, Raymond, Nicole, Eric, and Pauly get together for a night of reminiscing and hanging out at a carnival. But their differences are now too big to overcome and the friendly gathering falls apart after too much drinking, drugs, and sexual tension. They make their way individually to the carnival, where the night ends badly. A former school friend, now a famous celebrity, goes missing, as does Raymond. Could these incidents be related? Could someone Pete thought of as a friend be a criminal? Pete gets drawn into the investigation, which puts his policeman father in a difficult position, and tries to do right by both the authorities and his friends-which are at odds with one another. All of the action happens in less than a week, yet the pace seems slow at times. This may be because of the ultrarealistic dialogue: "What?" "Are you sure?" "Yeah...I guess...." Still, the descriptions of places and events are evocative, the characters realistic, and the suspense gripping. Brooks has created a police procedural as well as a coming-of-age story. The ending leaves a big piece missing from the puzzle and may frustrate some readers.-Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT

Kirkus Reviews
Childhood relationships twist after gruesome events. While rediscovering formerly close friendships, 17-year-old Pete and his motley crew find themselves targeted for investigation after a teen starlet disappears from the local carnival. Pete begins his own inquiry after learning that Raymond, the group's outcast, is the prime suspect, and soon learns the bonds of friendship have shifted into something darker. Entangled in a web of betrayal and blackmail, Pete must discover who he is and who his friends have become. Brooks's skill at depicting cooled friendships excels, though readers may wonder why the group was so close initially. Raymond's distant character becomes too insubstantial at times, nearly drifting from the page; however, readers who know what it's like to be bullied will feel a strong emotional connection with him. False trails and near misses weigh down the interpersonal mystery, diluting an otherwise fast-paced narrative. Exploring control, power and secrecy, with a hint of Lord of the Flies, Brooks crafts a morbid beach read. (Mystery. YA)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Kevin Brooks is the groundbreaking author of the internationally acclaimed novels DAWN; BLACK RABBIT SUMMER; BEING; THE ROAD OF THE DEAD, a Mystery Writers of America "Edgar" nominee; CANDY; KISSING THE RAIN; LUCAS; and MARTYN PIG, which received England's Branford Boase Award for Best First Novel. Brooks lives in Yorkshire, England.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 30, 1959
Place of Birth:
Exeter, Devon, England
B.A. in Cultural Studies, Aston University, 1983

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Black Rabbit Summer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black Rabit Summer, a story by Kevin Brooks, was a book that I couldn¿t put down. It had a lot of suspense with a mystery mixed into it. This book is about a boy Pete and a group of friends and one night when they go to the fair and a celebrety girl comes. That night the celebrety girl Stelle and one of Pete¿s friends Raymond go missing. Then two days later they find Stelle¿s body in the river. Since Pete and his friends knew Stelle really well the police come and queston them.Will they ever find out who killed Stelle and will they ever find Raymond? The author teaches that it is really important who your friends are because they can get you in trouble when you didn¿t do anything. This book would apeal to kids who like realistic mystery and good suspence in books. If you like mystery books, you will like this book. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has such a mystery to it, it keeps you attached until the very end. Kevin Brooks is known for writing books that don't have a "happy ending" which leaves you wanting more. If you are into books that you're completely drawn into, and it can somewhat relate to your average, but yet adventurous, every day teenage life I highly recommend this book.
DoggyBlade More than 1 year ago
I honestly adore this book, from the scarily realistic plot to the to die for characters, but what happened to Raymond?!?! UGH I could just kick Kevin Brooks for doing it again! His books are suspensful and well written with plots that are so original and realistic you believe it could actually happen, but the endings always leave you hanging!! I want to know what happened to Raymond!
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
It's a rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood, leaving old friends behind for a future beckoning with invitations of bigger and better things to come. There is a reason we outgrow friendships. Sometimes things are better left behind.

Peter wasn't even thinking when he got the phone call; after all, it was summer. If he would have been, he'd have stuck with Raymond and let the others go on without them without looking back. As it was, nostalgia got the better of him, and he agreed to meet one last time in the den, their former home-away-from-home, but only if Raymond could come, too. Besides, he and Nicole had more than just a past, didn't they?

Five former friends, some booze, and a combination of drugs (some by choice, some not), add up to one night of confusion, chaos, and death. What follows in classic Brooks fashion is a mystery that continues to weave into itself more intricately rather than toward a resolution. Oh yes, certain issues are resolved involving who murdered whom along the way, but it's hard to say when we find those details out that it even matters. Who we end up caring most about is not the rich, fake, do-anything-to-be-famous Stella, but the odd, loner Raymond who talks to his black rabbit. Oh yeah, and it talks back to him.

Brooks is extraordinary at pulling us into his characters, leading us ever so slowly to answers, and then leaving much, though not all, left unsaid. If you are looking for a perfect ending, he's probably not your man. If you are looking to be challenged as a reader and not spoon-fed all the answers? Here's yet another of his works where you won't walk away being disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
just like all of your other books. i just finsihed lucas and it was amazing. GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! keep writing kevin. :]