4.0 6
by Laura McNeal, Tom McNeal

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From National Book Award-nominated authors Laura and Tom McNeal

Audrey and her two best friends have just transferred to Jemison High from their tiny private school. They're a nerdy little trio, so everyone is shocked when the handsome new guy, Wickham Hill, asks Audrey out. Audrey is so smitten that she doesn't pay much attention to The Yellow


From National Book Award-nominated authors Laura and Tom McNeal

Audrey and her two best friends have just transferred to Jemison High from their tiny private school. They're a nerdy little trio, so everyone is shocked when the handsome new guy, Wickham Hill, asks Audrey out. Audrey is so smitten that she doesn't pay much attention to The Yellow Paper, a vicious underground school newspaper...until it threatens to tell a tale that could change everything.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The McNeals (Crooked) again focus on teens facing a bully and caught in family drama in this engaging and complex-though at times overwrought-novel. When smart, rich Audrey Reed starts public school for the first time, the popular girls harass her, and "thug" Theo Driggs tells her she's on his "to-do list." But when confident Wickham Hill, with his southern drawl, transfers into Jemison High, she immediately feels a spark. Study dates quickly move to romantic ones, and although Audrey feels awkward about helping Wickham cheat on a quiz, just seeing him makes "everything feel okay again." Their romance hurts Clyde Mumsford, a shy, awkward boy with a crush on Audrey; but when he tries to reveal Wickham's dark past to her, she gives Theo ammunition to beat up Clyde. Told mostly in third-person narrative from Audrey and Clyde's perspectives, readers get to know their nearly unbelievable amount of problems (Audrey's widowed father seems to have lost all their money; Clyde's own mother is dying of cancer; Wickham is the product of a long-term affair between his mother and a rich married man). Some plotting doesn't gel (e.g., a teacher who makes a personal confession about her marriage to Audrey), and Theo and his cronies (including one that "wore a black jacket studded with chrome") seem two-dimensional. Ultimately, though, these authors carefully construct a compelling story about youthful mistakes-and how to make amends. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This is the third book with a one-word title the McNeal writing partnership has published; the others are Crooked and Zipped. Like the others, this one involves a rather large cast of characters in a convoluted plot--a plot that defies easy summary. The setting is a public high school in New York State, where three girlfriends are entering junior year, trying to adjust after attending a small private school. They feel completely alienated and stay together for comfort. Everything changes when a new guy transfers in from the South and turns on the Southern charm to entice Audrey to try things she would have never considered before: cheating and lying, to name two. Class is an issue--who has what is on the minds of most of the characters. One of the local students, Clyde, is a quiet loner nicknamed "The Mummy" because he is so morbidly set apart. The secret in his life is that his mother is dying on a hospital bed in their home. He has access to the private files his father brings home from work--could he be the writer of The Yellow Paper, an underground newspaper circulating at school telling secrets about teachers' indiscretions and other cruel gossip? As is true of other McNeal novels, the adults are characters the reader gets to know and care about as well. Bullying, betrayal, and new beginnings, some more promising than others, are the themes considered seriously. The mystery of not knowing many things until they unfold holds the reader's attention to the last page. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Random House, Knopf, 292p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
Audrey and her friends C.C. and Lea have just transferred to the public school in their junior year, after being educated at the exclusive Tate School. As social outcasts, the girls stick together and manage to navigate the perils of the new school, trying to avoid Theo and his gang of thugs. Clyde, a painfully shy boy, likes Audrey and tries to approach her, but she is swept off her feet by a handsome and mysterious new student named Wickham Hill, who exudes confidence and begins dating and romancing her. Vicious revelations in the underground school newspaper reveal dark secrets about faculty members, Theo, and even Wickham. When Audrey tries to find out the truth, her relationship with Wickham suffers. In addition, Audrey's father can no longer hide his bankruptcy from her, Clyde must face his mother's impending death from cancer, and Wickham deals with a father who wants nothing to do with him while he copes with the memory of a tragic car accident in which he was the driver. The McNeals capture the emotions and struggles of teens accurately, and readers will relate to the pressures that the characters experience both at school and at home. Although the plot centers on Audrey, the characters of both Wickham and Clyde are well drawn, and readers will understand their turmoil even if they do not always agree with their actions. The dialogue rings true as do the internal thoughts, preoccupations, and uncertainties in the lives of these teens. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Knopf, 292p., and PLB Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature
Audrey Reed and her two best friends recently began public high school after many years at a small, private school where academics mattered more than popularity. Audrey gets through the days by focusing on her school work and trying to attract as little notice as possible, but despite her best efforts she attracts the attention of the class bully, Theo Driggs, the kind-of-creepy Clyde Mumsford, and the gorgeous new boy, Wickham Hill. Audrey is flattered when Wickham asks her out, and they soon become a couple. But all is not what it seems: Everyone at Jemison High seems to have a secret, including Wickham, Clyde, and Audrey's best friend Lea. To top it off, someone is creating the Yellow Sheet, which spreads rumors about everyone, including the teachers. Eventually, Audrey's and Wickham's relationship hits the skids when Audrey's father loses his job and their house, and Audrey hits her emotional bottom when she discovers that Wickham has been cheating on her with her best friend Lea. To make matters worse, Audrey is being harassed by the thug Theo and feels like she is being stalked by Clyde, who has big problems of his own. It is hard to imagine all of this drama ending easily or well, but by the end of the book, Wickham's secrets are revealed, Audrey finds a new boyfriend, Clyde is a happier and apparently more appealing guy, and Theo Driggs does something unexpectedly decent. The unlikely ending, in fact, is the title's weakness. The novel offers Audrey's, Clyde's, and Wickham's perspectives, so the reader gets to know and care about each, but the problem with this technique is that the characters' actions at the end do not ring true. Throughout the novel Audrey has been repulsed byClyde but suddenly has a change of heart and finds his stalking endearing rather than frightening. Clyde has been cripplingly shy throughout the book but suddenly, miraculously becomes comfortable and at ease around the girl he has been obsessed with. Of the three main characters, only Wickham stays true to character—his plan to run away with wealthy Lea makes perfect, if sad, sense. Middle school readers will enjoy this book as long as they do not have to think too much about it, but most high schoolers will see through the happy ending. 2006, Alfred A. Knopf, Ages 12 up.
—Lauri Berkenkamp
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-The characters in this novel have their secrets and make false assumptions about others, causing them all to be "crushed" in some way. Audrey's mother died when the girl was young and her father is in financial trouble. Clyde's mother is dying of cancer. Wickham, born of an affair 18 years earlier and new in town, is running from his own secret. The trouble begins when he romances Audrey, who is quickly taken with his seeming sophistication. He, on the other hand, is looking for someone to help him graduate and relies on her academic assistance. Painfully shy Clyde also has a crush on her and uses his father's computer program to investigate Wickham's past. When he tries to share what he discovers with Audrey, she rejects him. In the meantime, a slanderous paper is circulating secrets about students and teachers. When cornered by the school bully, Audrey tells him that Clyde is the author, even though she lacks evidence. This sets in motion the revelation of other secrets and the breaking of hearts. With the exception of Audrey's friend Lea's off-key change in personality, characters and situations ring true. Readers will sympathize with these individuals, some of whom mature, and some of whom do not. This quiet, sophisticated story will appeal to a small, mature audience.-Karen Hoth, Marathon Middle/High School, FL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Audrey, Lea and C.C. are a tight-knit trio, having just transferred from an alternative private school to Jemison High. The three friends are highly intelligent and lack patience for superficial cliques, which is why Audrey can't believe it when debonair Wickham Hill asks her out. Shortly after they begin dating, however, an underground gossip rag called The Yellow Paper surfaces, brimming with dredged-up secrets and skeletons in the closet. Clyde, a quiet and thoughtful classmate with a crush on Audrey, discovers that Wickham has secrets of his own. When he tells Audrey about Wickham's past, she assumes Clyde is the yellow journalist. Unfortunately, Wickham isn't the only person in Audrey's life with secrets; her father's fledgling-and failing-business eventually results in their home being repossessed. As the story builds to a climax, the author of The Yellow Paper is revealed, and Audrey learns who her true friends are. Though the characters aren't particularly memorable, The Yellow Paper is a convincing plot device portraying the devastating effects of secrets and the resilience of people who have been crushed. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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701 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

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Crushed 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read Crooked and Crushed, and I'm about to embark on Zipped. Crooked was better, I thought, especially the big climax scene towards the end. Crushed's big scene wasn't quite as suspenseful. My favorite character in this book was definately Bryan (I hope I'm spelling his name right) and his bearded dragon... he needed a bigger part in the book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was really good at the begining to about half way through and then the plot totally gets ruined. It was depressing and the ending had no closure and made 2 characters you quickly fell in love with seem like the most heartless people ever. I returned the book after i read it and got my money back. Its not worth it to buy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the Romance to the secrets that have to be unfolded this book was amazing. i read it in 2 days i couldnt stop. It has short chapters, which makes the book not drag on. I was upset when i got to the last chapter i didnt want this book to end.