Powers's first novel powerfully combines timely story lines regarding illegal immigration, school violence and racial tension. The first of six narrators, MacKenzie Malone attends a Jesuit high school in El Paso, Tex., where most of the Mexican students have branded him a racist after the controversial letter to the editor he's written appears in the local newspaper. Off his Ritalin (he's traded it for coke) and unable to take the taunting, Mackenzie beats up a Mexican classmate so badly that the guy ends up in the hospital. That night Mackenzie, still narrating, is stabbed to death in his front yard. In subsequent chapters, six boys-among them witnesses, suspects, friends-react to the news and reveal their own disturbing secrets as they alternately narrate. On the surface, the characters fall into stock roles (the closeted gay friend, the brilliant kid hiding behind a stoner persona, the geeky outcast, the peacemaker, and so on), but the author carefully individuates their back stories even as she links the boys via their common fears. If some of the voices sound a little similar and if some of the action seems implausible, the psychological drama as a whole has enough depth and dimension to compensate. The structure Powers builds is ambitious, and she manipulates it for maximum surprise. Ages 14-up. (July)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Confessionalby J. L. Powers
When longtime animosities between a Mexican and a white American student at a Texas high school finally flare into violence, one ends up in the hospital with a broken arm and a fractured ego. A few hours later, the other ends up dead. In the reverb, friends and enemies alike are left to grapple with loss, suspicion, and rapidly escalating racial tensions. Narrated with brutal candor by six boys—each with a very different take on the week’s events—The Confessional blends murder mystery, contemporary politics, and high school drama to create a gritty, fast-paced read.
From the Paperback edition.
Gr 10 Up
When their friend Mac is murdered, seven confused, angry Catholic school classmates seek answers in El Paso, TX, a town defined by boundaries, cultural tensions, and strict allegiances. In looking for the killer, the boys end up embodying Mac himself, who questioned everything: God, his own uncontrollable rage, terrorism, and the volatile relationships between Mexicans and Americans. Powers delves deeply into the psyche of each of the boys, who narrate chapters and fuel the book's momentum. Teens will see themselves in these realistic characters, each struggling with unique challenges. Isaiah tries to make peace in the wars raging in his home and school; Greg looks for someone to pay for his best friend's death; Josh uses drugs to muddle his memory; Dan desperately hides his homosexuality from his best buddy; Alex, the invisible outsider, plays detective; and Jim Hall wrestles unfathomable demons. Through them, readers confront the complicated inner worlds of young people today. The residual effects of religion, immigration, and dysfunctional fathers crowd these boys' minds. Although their language sometimes seems improbably elevated, these characters will reach mature teens eager to hear their own preoccupations echoed and, perhaps, clarified. They might also notice how this distinctly modern vision of adolescence morphs silkily into a clever noir adaptation. As Alex makes rounds visiting suspects, he slips into the clipped speech and hawkish manner of a fedora-wearing private eye. Murder, mystery, and detection pulse through this complex book, keeping readers feverishly wondering who done it and why.
Shelley HuntingtonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
- Random House Children's Books
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Random House
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 2 MB
- Age Range:
- 14 Years
Meet the Author
J. L. Powers’s yen to tell the story of The Confessional began when she worked on a local paper and taught writing in El Paso, Texas. She lives in San Bruno, California.
From the Paperback edition.
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I absolutely loved this book
THE CONFESSIONAL is a book about murder, racism, anger, bullies, drugs, and fitting in, which takes place in an all-male Catholic private school located on the Mexican-American border.
After a random bomber blows up the international bridge that connects Mexico and the United States in El Paso, Texas, tensions escalate at the school. Nearing the one-year anniversary of the Mexican terrorist bombing, a fight breaks out between two boys at the school. One boy ends up in the hospital. The other boy ends up dead by the end of the day.
Mayhem follows. A racial riot erupts on the Cathedral steps after a special mass for the dead teen. Mexicans and Americans point fingers at one another. No one feels safe. Everyone is ready to fight. Will the boys be able to find out who killed their fellow student before someone else disappears? Before someone else is murdered? And at what cost? How many will go to jail before it's all over?
This is a gripping read and difficult to put down. It's an honest look at how quickly tempers can flare and get out of hand. Be warned, the language is also brutally authentic. In the beginning, the reader may struggle to keep all the boys straight in their head as I did. Don't worry about that. This book is told from multiple points of view. As each boy has his say, it becomes very clear who they are and you will have no trouble at all keeping them straight. This novel is incredible in its glaring realism.
Murder. Mayhem. Confusion. Thrilling mysteries 2 unfold. Have U ever wondered what Ur classmates might really B thinking? Well "walk" in2 the minds of some students in an all male high school and "hear" their thoughts. It may shock U and open Ur eyes 2 the mind of a teen male. Deep and insightful. A great who-done-it challenge.