Blood Brothers

( 16 )

Overview

Without his job at the hospital, Clay would be lost. The hard work, the struggles of the patients, the drama in the ERÑit makes his days worth something, and gives focus to his dream of someday becoming a doctor. Clay can't afford to go away to college like the rest of his graduating senior class, but what other 17-year-old has delivered a baby or helped save a life?

Still, Clay wishes his life could be more like his best friend Joey's. Joey has it all—a great family, a good ...

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Blood Brothers

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Overview

Without his job at the hospital, Clay would be lost. The hard work, the struggles of the patients, the drama in the ERÑit makes his days worth something, and gives focus to his dream of someday becoming a doctor. Clay can't afford to go away to college like the rest of his graduating senior class, but what other 17-year-old has delivered a baby or helped save a life?

Still, Clay wishes his life could be more like his best friend Joey's. Joey has it all—a great family, a good college waiting for him at the end of the summer, money, a car. Clay has to bike everywhere, and the miles are starting to wear him down.

But Joey's golden future shatters one day when he overdoses at a party. Now he's clinging to life at the hospital where Clay works, and Clay may even be implicated in Joey's injuries. Tension and emotion rise as those who love Joey gather and wait. Clay will do whatever he can to find out what happened at the party, and to help Joey recover. But to survive this ordeal Clay must draw on a strength he never knew he had.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Patti Sylvester Spencer
Clay Gardener, respected hospital employee and loyal but conflicted friend, joins the ranks of veteran, engaging young adult characters such as Chris Crutcher's Louie Banks and S. E. Hinton's PonyBoy. This talented first-time author sets the story in small-town Georgia, the summer after high school graduation. For more than a decade, Clay has lived in the shadow of his affluent best friend, golden-boy valedictorian, med-school-bound Joey. The relationship unfolds in irresistible flashbacks and contemplations, from kiddie antics to teen angst to practices for a cross-country bike ride. Socioeconomic disparities permeate, but sex and partying surface realistically, too, without the salacious titillation of many less well-written contemporary novels. Clay's trusty bike, dreary apartment shared with his exhausted garbageman dad, and his bedpan-scrubbing job create a portrait of a teen who wants desperately to study medicine, but even community-college tuition seems well out-of-reach. Clay's voice is amazingly ordinary, with no pretense and no posing. Perhaps that is what makes him so wonderfully engaging as he attempts to solve a mystery involving Joey's hospitalization and his own possible part in the event. Acutely aware of his underdog status, Clay captures reader emotion in present and past tense, with scattered metaphors and heartfelt commitment to job and friends. Settings and characters are extremely well drawn. The compellingly serious story line is punctuated by smatters of Clay's self-deprecating humor about biking shorts, dog Champ, and Pumpkin, the police chief's cat. Harazin, a nursing assistant before becoming an RN, describes hospital work with honest detail. This reviewercannot wait for the writer's next effort.
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
Poor boy Clay and rich boy Joey have been best friends since they were seven. Now they're about to graduate from high school, and Joey, the class valedictorian, is heading for premed at Duke—that is, until Clay is attacked by Joey, who is flipping out from an overdose, and pushes him in self-defense. Now Joey lies in a coma at the hospital where Clay works as an orderly, trying to make enough money to pay his part of the rent and food at home. Everyone seems to think Clay is responsible for Joey's condition, but what role did a sleazy ex-girlfriend of Clay's play at the party the night before? Will Joey ever recover, and how will it affect Clay's life? This tension-filled novel by a nurse who knows her way around medical issues draws a convincing portrait of a young man at a crossroads, and of what it's like to work at a hospital, too. Harazin also clearly explains the dangers of PCP-laced marijuana, and an author's note at the end provides resources on drug abuse. Some strong language.
School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up Clay, a 17-year-old medical technician, loves working at the hospital, mopping blood off the floors and helping patients. Then he finds his normally straight-laced friend Joey intoxicated and violent, and Joey is injured when Clay fights him off. This mysterious episode leaves Joey clinging to life in the intensive-care unit. Clay's mechanical, deliberate actions on the job used to help his messed-up life make sense and actually save lives. Now nothing makes sense: his sensible, valedictorian friend needs a respirator to breathe. He must put the pieces of Joey's night together to try to both save his friend and clear himself of blame. Although Clay seems uncertain about who gave Joey PCP, most teens will identify the culprit early on. Fans of hospital TV dramas will immediately jump into this frantic story that is spattered with bodily fluids and drugs. Harazin's painfully precise writing dissects the hospital's stingingly sterile, evenhanded distribution of life and death, as well as Clay's disjointed life, which is stunted by small rations of parental care and money. It is Joey's tenuous grip on life, and Clay's deep bond with him, that will keep readers' hearts racing.-Shelley Huntington, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
At age seven, Clay and Joey became blood brothers. They've remained close even though they are very different. Joey is popular, class valedictorian and will attend Duke University in the fall. Clay, on the other hand, is awkward around people, a poor student and can only dream of becoming a doctor, as there is no money for college. After working a 12-hour shift at the hospital, Clay heads over to Joey's, hoping to apologize after a disagreement over a girl. When he arrives, Clay finds Joey acting seriously messed up. While awaiting the EMTs, Joey attacks Clay. In an act of self-defense, Clay pushes Joey, causing him to hit his head hard on the cement floor. Joey recovers, yet the next day slips into a coma, and now Clay is the police's prime suspect. This compelling story, told in diary entries that cover hours and days, never loses the pace as Clay races to discover what happened during Joey's last day. The anti-drug message is never didactic, and the story will grab readers from the first sentence. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385733649
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/10/2007
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,015,880
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.81 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

S. A. Harazin lives in Georgia and worked as a nurse in a hospital for many years. This is her first novel.
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Saturday, 6 pm

I hurry down the cold hospital corridor and barge through the automatic doors of the emergency department. My sneakers squeak on the glossy white tiles I mopped this morning and catch on the hem of my blue scrubs, pulling them below my hips. I glance around, embarrassed, pull up my pants, and tighten the drawstring around the waist. These things never seem to fit me right.

I have a dull headache from the twelve-pack of beer I drank last night as I watched cars pass by on the highway. That’s what passes for entertainment here in Georgia. Thankfully, I only threw up once this morning, but I haven’t eaten anything all day.

I adjust my stethoscope and my name tag.

clay gardener. med tech i.

This means I do anything I’m told to do. I’m seventeen years old, the youngest employee at the hospital.

I stop at the nurses’ station. Empty metal charts litter the desk. Mrs. Hunt, the nursing supervisor, is talking on the two-way radio. Five minutes ago she paged me and asked me to empty the trash in the ER.

“Can you airlift the patient to the nearest trauma center, over?” she’s saying.

“Biggs, that’s a negative. ETA in three to five minutes. Unit one, over and clear.”

Mrs. Hunt glances my way. “Clay, help me set up for a trauma patient.”

I swallow, but my mouth is still dried out from last night’s beer. I hope I know what to do. “Yes, ma’am,” I answer.

The other employees call her Big Mama behind her back. I don’t. Well, sometimes, maybe. She hired and trained me for my job here as an orderly. I get to do what nobody else wants to do. I’m the one who mops the vomit or blood off the emergency room floor or wipes sweat from the gurneys. I work all over the hospital. Most people see my job as nothing but menial labor, but Mrs. Hunt says I’m an important part of the team, and she gives me more responsibility than a lot of the other orderlies have. She says I’ll make a great doctor one day. Sometimes I imagine myself as a doctor, but then I get a big lump in the back of my throat. I don’t like dreaming the impossible.

She’s a big lady, and she’s good with little kids and drunks. I’ve heard she deals with little kids and a drunk at home. She loves hearing about the cross-country bike trip my best friend, Joey, and I plan to take next year and my desire to go to college. But I have to win the lottery first to be able to pay tuition, and then actually get admitted somewhere.

In the trauma room, Mrs. Hunt flips switches and turns dials. Sounds of bubbling, swishing, and beeping fill the air.

I pull yellow plastic gowns, masks with goggles, and gloves from overhead cabinets.

Mrs. Hunt connects clear blue tubing to the oxygen. “You were late again today,” she says.

This morning I rode my bike four miles to work with a hangover. I don’t plan on ever doing that again.

I place a lift sheet on the gurney. Head down, I smooth out the wrinkles. I imagine the suction machine is draining all the oxygen from the room. I force in a breath. “Yes, ma’am. It won’t happen again. I promise.”

I glance at my watch. I get off at 7 pm. I’ve been here almost twelve hours, but it feels like a hundred.

Mrs. Hunt unfolds a blue pad and places it at the head of the stretcher. She doesn’t smile or nod. I wonder how mad she is at me for coming in late again. I get the backboard and place it on the gurney.

I hear sirens blasting. The double doors of the ambulance entrance whoosh open and two EMTs slide a stretcher inside as they perform CPR.

“Sixteen-year-old female. Car accident. No seat belt. Went through the windshield,” an EMT says. “We arrived within five minutes . . . started CPR.”

“Call a code,” Mrs. Hunt says. She wiggles into a yellow gown. “Thank God you got her intubated,” she tells the EMTs.

I pick up the phone and press a button. “Code blue, emergency room.” I say the words three times.

We lift the patient onto the gurney. I cut off her shirt with a pair of scissors, right down the middle. Mrs. Hunt connects the hospital heart monitor. CPR is in progress. I pull the emergency cart and defibrillator next to the patient. Dr. Murphy, Guthrie—a nurse—and a respiratory therapist appear.

“Start a large-bore IV,” Dr. Murphy barks. “Give her bicarb followed by one milligram of epi. Check the ET and continue to hyperventilate. Bolus her with two hundred fifty of saline.” I’m glad I’m not the one who has to remember all those orders.

The respiratory therapist listens to the girl’s chest. “Breath sounds in both fields,” she says.

One EMT steps out of the way and starts writing on a metal clipboard. “She was in full cardiac arrest when we arrived on the scene. Pupils already fixed and dilated,” he says.

I look at the girl. A breathing tube sticks out of her mouth, held in place by tape. Her face is twilight blue, caked with dried blood.

I hope it isn’t too late for you.

I can feel my heart speed up.

I hear the hiss of the oxygen, the gurgling of the suction, the beep of the heart monitor, the sounds of life clinging to this world. The one thing I can’t handle is someone dying before my eyes. That’s happened a couple of times. In both cases I got an urge to shut all the windows and doors in the room so the patient’s soul wouldn’t escape, so maybe we could still save them. There aren’t any windows in this room, and the door’s already shut.

The girl’s jeans are ripped at one knee where her leg is partially severed. The respiratory therapist squeezes oxygen into her lungs with the ambu bag. Her chest rises and falls each time. I can smell blood and alcohol.

“Clay!” Mrs. Hunt says, preparing a syringe of medication. She’s a big yellow blob calling to me from inside a tunnel. I hear a faint buzz. It’s like we’re inside a giant refrigerator.

“Clay! Take over compressions.”

I put on a face shield and move to the side of the gurney. The other EMT steps out of the way. I position my hands in the right spot and press. This is not the plastic dummy I practiced on when I was getting certified. This is a real person. Not too hard. Press down an inch. Don’t break the ribs. I count. I’m shaking, sweating, gasping. A properly trained person can do effective CPR. You don’t have to be a doctor. Any CPR is better than none.

“Good femoral pulse with CPR,” Guthrie says. I see her wink at me like she’s saying I’m doing well.

We all have a role. Dr. Murphy calls out orders. Mrs. Hunt prepares the medication, then hands it to Guthrie, who injects it. The respiratory therapist ventilates the patient. Because no one else is here to do it, I perform compressions.

“Are her parents here?” Dr. Murphy asks Guthrie. He’s sticking a needle into the girl’s groin to get a blood gas. Dark blood fills the syringe. Dark blood means no oxygen. Bright red blood, good oxygen.

“On the way,” Guthrie says. “I’ve already asked the receptionist to notify the hospital chaplain and organ procurement.”

Her words slice into me like a knife. But I keep working, mostly unaware of what’s going on around me. Focused. I’m doing the compressions correctly. No one yells and says I can’t do anything right, or that I’m an idiot.

Dr. Murphy flashes a light into the patient’s eyes. “Fixed and dilated.” He shakes his head. “Stop CPR. Let’s see what we have.” He checks for a femoral pulse.

I stare at the girl. Her tits are blue-black. I gasp. I bet she was pretty before her head smashed into the windshield. A straight line moves slowly across the heart monitor.

“Continue CPR,” Dr. Murphy says after a few seconds. “Let’s keep trying.”

I put the heel of my palm on her chest and start pumping.

“Repeat epi,” the doctor says, and Guthrie hands Mrs. Hunt the syringe of medicine that might stimulate the heart.

Warm mist from my breathing clouds my face shield as beads of sweat collect on my forehead. I glance at the girl from the corner of my eye.

I don’t want to think of you as a person. Now you’re just a broken machine we’re trying to fix.

“She’s fibrillating,” Dr. Murphy says, and I see an erratic line on the monitor. “Defib at two hundred.”

Yes! There’s a chance to get her back.

Mrs. Hunt places special pads on the chest. Guthrie charges the paddles to 200 and places them on the pads. “Clear,” she calls out, and looks around. Everybody steps back. She presses the buttons on the paddles. The electrical shock surges through the girl. Her body springs forward as if instantly brought back to life. The doctor looks at the monitor.

“Still fibrillating,” Dr. Murphy says. “Defib at three hundred.”

And the same thing happens. With every passing second, her grip on life loosens.

“Three sixty,” the doctor says.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    This book was inspiring and i loved it to the point where i was upsest and couldnt put it down, i wish the book never ended. I had come to actualy come very close to the main character, this story has changed my view on life and the importance of caring for others, and how one single decision u make in life can affect you, and many others in the long run, hope u guys enjoy it as much as i did.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Great Book!

    I really enjoyed this book. I couldn't put it down. It was sad, but very good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2010

    Great book, I really enjoyed reading it.

    I read this book, Blood Brothers, for my school's summer reading program, and I absolutely loved it. I am not generally someone who loves to read, because I get bored with most books so quickly, but this book kept me interested all the way to the end. The author did a great job creating the characters, their personalities, and their lives. There was a lot of action, suspense, and detail involved, and I felt like I was right there with the characters through the whole book. There is some language and content(swearing, etc.) that I think the author could have easily replaced with better choices, but it wasn't too inappropriate and I just kind of overlooked it. Aside from that, the book is easy to follow and understand. I like the overall theme of the book, and the close friendship shown between the characters. I think the book would be a little "easy" for adults, but not necessarily appropriate for middle schoolers and younger, so I would recommend it for older teens in high school. I really enjoyed reading this book and would not hesitate to recommend it to other teens or read it again in the future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    In this book, Clay one of the main characters, works at a hospi

    In this book, Clay one of the main characters, works at a hospital. He is tall with brown hair. He and his friend, Joey, wanted to bike to the Pacific Ocean. They practice for weeks and weeks but then Joey goes to a party the night before their last practice and passes out. Before Clay calls 9-1-1, Joey wakes up and starts to act really weird. So then Clay decides to call. The hospital thinks Joey has alcohol poisoning. Joey has a seizure while in the hospital one day. Clay tries to help but it just makes Joey worse. When Joey gets better, Clay really wants to continue their bike trip. They don’t go on the trip because they are nervous that something might happen with Joey while on the trip. Read the rest to find out the best part!
    I would recommend this book to anyone who likes heart-warming yet nerve racking stories. It tells how two friends care for each other like brothers. It was very nerve racking when Joey had his seizure because they told Clay that he might not live any longer. It was heart-warming when Clay tries to help Joey at the end. The basic theme in this story is, don’t just take things for granted because they/it could be gone in a heartbeat.


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  • Posted May 7, 2013

    I read this book last year, i loved it so much but i had checked

    I read this book last year, i loved it so much but i had checked it out of a library so i did not get to keep the copy, but i do plan on buying it in the future. 
    This Guy works at a hospital and has learned some things here and there and they come in handy when something happens to his best friend and he must get to the bottom of it and fast before its too late..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Great!

    Very splendid! Good work!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Go Great book!!!!!

    I just started the book and i can't put!!!! Loving it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    FINALLY!

    I remember my teacher giving me this book back in 8th grade. I forgot what the title and ive been looking for this since then. Im a senior in high school now and i finally found it!! Im gonna re read it now. I remember it being really good.

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  • Posted January 15, 2009

    Amazing Book Ever

    Chapter 26, was my favorite chapter in the book Blood Brothers by S.A. Harazin. I was really shocked when I found out who killed Joey, the 16- year-old main charactor. Joey had his whole life ahead of him until one party. Clay was the narrator of the story and also Joey's best friend. What happened to Joey was a total shock to Clay. He never thought that such a horrific thing could happen to his best friend. Clay worked in a hospital and saw some really tragic cases but never imagined himself involved in one on a personal level. <BR/> <BR/> The age group that is appropriate for this book is 16 and up. It has some strong words and it deals with drugs. There are parts that are so intense and emotional that would not be right for children. It is like a real life lesson to anyone because you could put yourself in the same place and feel disoriented and scared beyond belief just like Joey felt. I put myself into his place and was saying how I could prevented that from happening to me.<BR/> <BR/> Blood Brothers was one of the most fantastic books I have ever read. The book made me really frustrated at times and I felt like I just want to hurt someone because of the stupidity of what happened. I cried at the end because it made me feel like anything could go wrong if you`re not careful. This book made me realize that anything could happen in life, maybe not to you, but your best friend or a family member. Take life as it comes because you`ll never know what will hit you next.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    In BLOOD BROTHERS, S. A. Harazin combines many "teens will love it" elements sure to be a success for the young adult crowd. <BR/><BR/>Clay and Joey are best friends, even though their lives are quite different. Clay's mother died when he was just a baby, and while he lives with his dad, there's not much interaction between them. He pretty much fends for himself. Joey, on the other hand, has a great family, gets good grades, and has a terrific future ahead of him. <BR/><BR/>One night Joey calls Clay. It is obvious that Joey is not himself. He sounds confused and angry, possibly drunk. When Clay arrives, Joey flies into a mad rage, and while attempting to calm Joey and protect himself, Clay shoves Joey. The incident ends in a 911 call with Joey ending up in the hospital in a coma. <BR/><BR/>Clay works as a nurses' assistant at the hospital and knows just how bad things look for his friend. The personal guilt combined with the hostility he feels from his best friend's parents make Clay determined to investigate exactly what happened to Joey that night. There was some sort of party. Was Joey really just drunk or was it drugs? And if so, what kind of drugs and where did he get them? <BR/><BR/>Readers are taken along on the wild ride as Clay tries to solve the mystery, do what he can to keep his friend comfortable, and hang on to his own job. Teens will appreciate that S. A. Harazin writes on a realistic level and doesn't try to baby them. The direct, honest approach will attract teen readers and have them recommending this one to their friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2008

    A beautiful and heart-gripping story.

    This book was trully an amazing novel filled with both a mystery and heartbreaking story to tell. Clay finds himself torn between feelings as his best friend Joey is put in the hospital with a mystery surrounding his condition. This story leaves you will a sense of suspense and sadness with each turn of the page. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2007

    Blood Brothers

    This was a good book with a sad conclusion to an even sader plot line. You really feel the main character Clay's pain. I couldn't stand to lose a best friend like that. Especially when you least expect it. This book was very good and an easy read I would highly recommend reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2007

    Really Moved Me

    While I'm a bit squeamish when it comes to hospital stuff, I soon forgot that and became completely involved with Harazin's characters in her wonderful novel BLOOD BROTHERS. Her main character, Clay, is such a touching and vulnerable kid. I rooted for him, and ached for him and cried my eyes out. I highly recommend this ultimately uplifting tale!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2007

    a reviewer

    In BLOOD BROTHERS, S. A. Harazin combines many 'teens will love it' elements sure to be a success for the young adult crowd. Clay and Joey are best friends, even though their lives are quite different. Clay¿s mother died when he was just a baby, and while he lives with his dad, there¿s not much interaction between them. He pretty much fends for himself. Joey, on the other hand, has a great family, gets good grades, and has a terrific future ahead of him. One night Joey calls Clay. It is obvious that Joey is not himself. He sounds confused and angry, possibly drunk. When Clay arrives, Joey flies into a mad rage, and while attempting to calm Joey and protect himself, Clay shoves Joey. The incident ends in a 911 call with Joey ending up in the hospital in a coma. Clay works as a nurses¿ assistant at the hospital and knows just how bad things look for his friend. The personal guilt combined with the hostility he feels from his best friend¿s parents make Clay determined to investigate exactly what happened to Joey that night. There was some sort of party. Was Joey really just drunk or was it drugs? And if so, what kind of drugs and where did he get them? Readers are taken along on the wild ride as Clay tries to solve the mystery, do what he can to keep his friend comfortable, and hang on to his own job. Teens will appreciate that S. A. Harazin writes on a realistic level and doesn¿t try to baby them. The direct, honest approach will attract teen readers and have them recommending this one to their friends. **Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka 'Readingjunky'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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