Cutting Loose

Overview

"Show some respect, young man...Just what was this young woman to you?" Jackie looked into the nurse's pinkface. "Nance was the best friend I ever had," she said. "The only friend I ever had."

Jackie is Jack Cross to everyone except Nance, a Wild West show trick shooter in turn-of-the-century New York who has her own secrets to hide. A slick-fielding second baseman with a good bat, Jackie must never drop her disguise if she is to continue to play professional baseball. But when ...

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NY 1999 Hard cover First edition. Illustrated. New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 528 p. Contains: Illustrations. ... Audience: Children/juvenile; Young adult. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Read more Show Less

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New York, NY, U.S.A. 1999 Hard Cover First Edition New in New- jacket Library of Congress Copy Remainder mark, dog eared pages, slight shopwear to DJ.

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New York, NY, U.S.A. 1999 Hard Cover First Edition New in New- jacket Library of Congress Copy Dog earred pages, remainder mark, slight shopwear to DJ.

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Overview

"Show some respect, young man...Just what was this young woman to you?" Jackie looked into the nurse's pinkface. "Nance was the best friend I ever had," she said. "The only friend I ever had."

Jackie is Jack Cross to everyone except Nance, a Wild West show trick shooter in turn-of-the-century New York who has her own secrets to hide. A slick-fielding second baseman with a good bat, Jackie must never drop her disguise if she is to continue to play professional baseball. But when Nance is murdered by a knife-thrower who does know Jackie's secret, the young ballplayer takes off on a transatlantic chase that changes her life.

Set on two continents, in three different time-periods, with a fascinating cast of characters including Buffalo Bill Cody, Jack the Ripper, and a musical star named Ruby the Red who has still another hidden life, Cutting Loose is a multi-layered page-turner filled with insights and surprises.

A girl, who dresses like a boy in order to play professional baseball during the late nineteenth century, tracks the murderer of her best friend to London where she encounters the killer of her father.

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book
(Young Adult)
Fans of Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart might enjoy the triple-decker saga of Jackie-a.k.a. "Jack"-Cross as she seeks to avenge the murder of her friend Nance, stabbed by the dastardly Teddy Zeph. Jackie met Nance after the two become servants after being sent West courtesy of the "orphan trains" of the New York Children's Aid Society. Their meeting comes late in the novel: while Jackie's vow of vengeance at Nance's deathbed begins the story, the narrative flashes back to the girlhood of Jackie's grandmother Claudette, as she, too, is forced into servitude upon the death of her parents. Readers will take a while to catch on, but the hop-scotching and gradual meeting of Jackie's and Claudette's stories are skillfully done, culminating late in the book with a repetition of the first chapter, now excitingly part of a larger whole. In between comes betrayal, murder, baseball, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and cross-dressing; the novel spans the second half of the nineteenth century and both sides of the Atlantic. While the scenery is sketchy and there's little atmosphere, the characters are rich and the dialogue is pungent, both demonstrated in the person of the Red Ruby, an English music-hall star whose avocation is giving a kind of last rites to the men at Newgate prison: "Men that's about to be hanged gets an 'earty meal, if they wants one. But most of them hungers for something else and all. That's what I gives them." The book is long, but the characters and plot are big enough to handle the challenge. r.s.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although Lewin, award-winning writer of detective fiction, claims that his first book for young readers is a "coming of age story," his sprawling thriller draws more on the conventions of the adult historical saga than those of the YA novel. He starts off with a bang: in 1895 New York, 20-year-old Jackie Cross promises her best friend, Nance, who is on her deathbed, that she'll get back the locket stolen from her by her attacker, the knife-throwing showman Teddy Zeph. The book's second chapter shifts both time and place with the introduction of Claudette LaCroix, separated from her brothers and sold at auction after the death of their parents in a fire in 1826 Indiana. Alternating chapters unfold Jackie's quest to track down the murdering Zeph and three generations of her back story (readers discover about half way through the connection between Claudette and Jackie); 19th-century baseball, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, orphan trains, London music halls, Jack the Ripper and cross-dressing all play a part. Lewin's characters aren't drawn with much depth, but his facility with dialogue and dialect makes them lively and appealing; his fast-paced plotting compensates for the book's daunting length. While much of Claudette's story seems out of place in a children's book (her sexual relationships, her inability to love her only son), fans of Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart will find a kindred spirit in Jackie. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-A meaty novel of suspense. In dying breath, Jackie's best friend Nance, a rider in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, identifies her murderer, a vaudeville knife thrower who tried to rape her, and Jackie promises to seek revenge. The trail leads to England, so she books passage to Liverpool. However, an unscrupulous bounty hunter is looking for her as a murder suspect. Aided by the first of many diverse characters, the girl-disguised-as-a-boy disembarks the ship "disguised" as a young woman. After a lengthy series of adventures, she fulfills her promise to Na
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805062250
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/15/1999
  • Pages: 528
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Z. Lewin is the award-winning author of ten adult detective novels. He always seeks new challenges, and when he realized that Jackie's story was about a young woman coming of age, he set out to write his first book specifically for younger readers. Born in the United States, he now resides in England.

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