Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

  • Alternative view 1 of Deadline
  • Alternative view 2 of Deadline


4.3 161
by Chris Crutcher

See All Formats & Editions

Ben Wolf has big things planned for his senior year. Had big things planned. Now what he has is some very bad news and only one year left to make his mark on the world.

How can a pint-sized, smart-ass seventeen-year-old do anything significant in the nowheresville of Trout, Idaho?

First, Ben makes sure that no one else knows what is going on -- not his


Ben Wolf has big things planned for his senior year. Had big things planned. Now what he has is some very bad news and only one year left to make his mark on the world.

How can a pint-sized, smart-ass seventeen-year-old do anything significant in the nowheresville of Trout, Idaho?

First, Ben makes sure that no one else knows what is going on -- not his superstar quarterback brother, Cody, not his parents, not his coach, no one. Next, he decides to become the best 127-pound football player Trout High has ever seen; to give his close-minded civics teacher a daily migraine; and to help the local drunk clean up his act.

And then there's Dallas Suzuki. Amazingly perfect, fascinating Dallas Suzuki, who may or may not give Ben the time of day. Really, she's first on the list.

Living with a secret isn't easy, though, and Ben's resolve begins to crumble...especially when he realizes that he isn't the only person in Trout with secrets.

Editorial Reviews

In this often heartbreaking but highly empowering tale, an 18-year-old boy learns he has one year to live and decides to keep his illness a secret from his friends and family in order to live a so-called normal life. The hero is a well-developed character who shows both sensitivity and humor in dealing with his impending death, as well as a variety of other serious issues teens can relate to: romance, racism, mental illness, and more. Through an engaging first-person narrative filled with gut-wrenching honesty, Chris Crutcher delivers a thought-provoking tale that offers a great exercise in living each day as though it might be your last.
Crutcher revisits many of his familiar themes-death, child molestation, censorship and sports-but does so in the context of a startlingly heartrending plot that manages to be simultaneously wise, thought-provoking, occasionally maddening and frequently very, very funny. Ben's intelligence, zeal and sarcastic humor not only win him friends and help him cope with his diagnosis; they also make for an engaging narrative that balances wit with pathos.
—Norah Piehl
This is no-holds-barred Crutcher at his best. As a counselor, he knows about the struggles that all people must deal with in their lives and how to survive with them. While the premise of the year-deadline alone would be enough to make for an emotional novel, each of the supporting characters and their demons add power to every page.

... as usual, Crutcher writes vivid sports action scenes, and teens' interest will be held by the story's dramatic premise, Ben's unlikely turn as a football hero, love scenes with Dallas (including some mildly explicit sex), and Ben's high-gear pursuit of life's biggest questions.

VOYA - Patti Sylvester Spencer
This new novel, exploring how various people reflect on life choices and how to face death, fits an existential pattern. Sartre would be intrigued. Following a routine athletic physical, eighteen-year-old Ben Wolf learns that he has leukemia. He opts to use HIPPA, medical privacy law, in choosing not to inform anyone-even his own family. That choice shapes his terminal year, as he tries a contact sport, overtly challenges a narrow-minded teacher, boosts his courage with a beautiful volleyball player, and befriends the town drunk. The town is Trout, Idaho, football is an eight-man game, and Lou Banks from Crutcher's Running Loose (Greenwillow, 1983/VOYA April 1983) is the insightful coach/English teacher. Could any setting be more inviting? As usual, Crutcher does not hesitate to incorporate serious subject matter within an engaging first-person narrative. Sexual abuse from family to clergy, suicide, mental illness, racism-all topical in the twenty-first century-are woven into the observations of the narrator. Exemplifying classic Crutcher, Ben's sensitive voice uses self-deprecating humor, philosophical pondering, and effective dramatic irony. By page three, readers are quite certain of the novel's painful outcome: Ben will die. But choices, risks, challenges, and joyful events make the journey with Ben so worth the time and trip. Whether facing physical limitations, making a stand, or telling the truth, Ben is a teen hero for whom readers cannot help but cheer. What a pleasure it is to revisit a familiar setting.
Kirkus Reviews
Star cross-country runner Ben Wolf learns during a physical that he has developed a rare, aggressive, fatal blood disease. Ben is not wholly surprised by this diagnosis because in his heart he has always known that he would not live to grow old. Rather than seek treatment, he swears his doctor to secrecy, hides the truth of his health from his family, friends and coach, and decides to go after the things he's always wanted but never pursued. Those things include football (not usually the sport of choice for an athlete weighing 123 pounds), statuesque volleyball player Dallas Suzuki and petitioning to have a street in town named after Malcolm X. After football season, Ben succumbs to his illness all too cleanly and almost glamorously, describing none of his symptoms but fatigue. More disappointing than that, however, are Crutcher's heavy-handed lessons on the ills of racial prejudice and the need for gun control. Many characters, from athletes to incest survivors, are merely variations from the author's past works; their troubles are treated with care but they are often too good, or bad, to be true. Ben, like the book itself, is likable enough, but ultimately forgettable. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.05(d)
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Early August

My plan was to focus my senior year on information I could use after graduation when I set out for Planet Earth from the Pluto that is Trout, Idaho, population 943. My SATs said I wasn't even close to brain-dead and I was set to be accepted at any college I chose, as long as I chose one that would accept me. A lot of guys use their senior year to coast; catch up on partying and reward themselves for making it this far. Not me. This was my year to read everything I could get my hands on, to speak up, push myself and my teachers to get the true hot poop on the World At Large, so I could hit the ground running. How big a pain in the ass do you think that would make me in Mr. Lambeer's U.S. government/current events class, where Lambeer regularly alters reality with the zeal of an evangelical senator?

I also intended to shock the elite by etching my name atop the winner's board at the state cross-country meet, then come home to take Dallas Suzuki by surprise. Dallas Suzuki may sound to you like a car dealership in Texas, but for the past three years, she has been the single prey in the crosshairs of my Cupid's bow, and she doesn't know it because she is way, way out of my league.

Mr. Ambitious.

Then, about two weeks after my eighteenth birthday, a month and a half before beginning my final year at Trout High, I discovered I'll be lucky to be there at the finish. A warning like that usually comes from the school office, to be ignored until the third notice, but this was from The Office Above The Office and was to be attended to immediately.

Doc Wagner left a phone message a fewdays after my routine cross-country physical; he wanted to see me with my parents in his office either ASAP or pronto. There was gravity in his voice, so I decided I'd better scout ahead to see if his message was PG-13 and suited for all, or R-rated and just for me. Turned out to be X.

"Hey, Ben," he said as he passed me in the waiting room. "where are your folks?"

"They couldn't make it."

"I'd really prefer they were here."

"My mom's . . . well, you know my mom; and Dad's on the truck."

"I'm afraid I have to insist," he said.

"I'll relay the information. Promise."

He said it again. "I'm afraid I have to insist."

"Insist all you want, my good man," I said back. "I'm eighteen, an adult in the eyes of the election board and the Selective Service and your people, the American Medical Association. I decide who gets the goods on yours truly." Dr. Wagner has known my family since before I was born and was plenty used to my smart-ass attitude. He's delivered probably 80 percent of the town's population my age and under, including my brother, and I'm not even close to his worst work. He also delivered Sooner Cowans.

"I don't feel right talking about this without your parents, Ben," he said, walking me toward the examination room. "But I guess you leave me no choice."

"I leave you exactly that," I said. "Lay it on me."

And lay it on me he did, and I am no longer quite so glib.

He sat on the stainless-steel swivel stool, a hand on my knee, staring sadly.

I said, "You're sure about this, right? There's no doubt?"

"There's no doubt. I sent your tests to Boise and they sent them to the most reputable clinic in the country. We can run them again, but unless your blood was mixed with somebody else's—and yours is the only blood I took that day—it's pretty much a lock. We have to get right on it. Otherwise you'll be lucky to have a year."

Doc took another blood sample, to be sure. I watched him mark it, but I knew the original tests were mine.

"Okay," I said, rolling down my sleeve. "Lemme sit with this a minute, all right?"

He hesitated.

"You got no sharp instruments in here, Doc, and nothing to make a noose. Go," I said, fighting the urge to let him stay. That's my curse: give me the bad news and I'll take care of you. I thank my mother for that.

Doc rose, and he looked old. He stood at the door, watching me over the top of his glasses, the cliché of a small-town doctor. The door closed behind him and I stared out the window, letting his words settle into my chest. Otherwise you'll be lucky to have a year.

The leaves of an ancient cottonwood outside the window danced in the bright sunlight, and I was breathless. I sat, digesting the indigestible, adrenaline shooting to my extremities as if I were strapped to an out-of-control whirling dervish. I was thinking of my mom. How in the world do I tell her this?

All my mother ever wanted was to be a good mother and a good wife, but that's not as easy as it sounds—for her at least—because she's crazy. She's either moving at warp speed or crashed in her room with the shades pulled. No gears in between. She calls herself a stay-at-home mom, but when she does stay at home, it's all you can do to get her out of her locked bedroom, and when she's not at home, she could be at the Chamber of Commerce or the Civic Club or any of a number of bridge or book clubs.

When Cody and Dad come home to a dark house, Mom's door closed tight like that of a dungeon, they pretend she's on vacation. I'm the one who tries to get in and make her feel better. File that under Don Quixote. Dad has his own bedroom because he's . . .

Deadline. Copyright © by Chris Crutcher. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Chris Crutcher has written nine critically acclaimed novels, an autobiography, and two collections of short stories. Drawing on his experience as a family therapist and child protection specialist, Crutcher writes honestly about real issues facing teenagers today: making it through school, competing in sports, handling rejection and failure, and dealing with parents. He has won three lifetime achievement awards for the body of his work: the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the ALAN Award, and the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award. Chris Crutcher lives in Spokane, Washington.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Deadline 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 162 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chris Crutcher is the Big Kahuna when it comes to young adult reality and he once again has proven his Kahunaness with Deadline! In this Crutcher classic you have all of his signature themes sports, teenage life, a close nit community, a complex growing problem, vulgarity, and a buffet of real world problems that most individuals wouldn¿t dare think about much less write about. Ben Wolf, a 123 pound 18 year old, is entering his senior year of high school knowing he¿s going to die and more than likely before he graduates. Everything in Ben¿s life is suddenly flung into categories, of heroic and average, that are begging him to go out a legend and not just another casualty of repetition and the regular 9-5. His predicament puts a new spin on his life taking him from supposed lock for podium placement at cross country state to the most dangerous 123 pound football player ever, he decides there is no better time to go after the most mysterious and most beautiful girl in school then when you literally have nothing to lose, and he finds a hidden gem in self satisfying community service of help cleaning up the ¿town drunk. Crutcher writes as if he is a teenager and I swear every time I turn to the back inside page and read his credentials it always shocks me to find out that he¿s not. The voice and tone of this book really come straight from the mind a 18 year old whether it is Ben¿s struggle of understanding the mechanics of relationships or feeling as if he can handle everything life throws at him on his own. Crutcher hooks you in in every possible way and answers every question that needs to be answered and leaves every question that doesn¿t up to you and when the ending hits you¿ll feel as if you never knew it was coming. Deadline doesn¿t just leave you thinking what would I do if I had only one more year to live it leaves you with many more serious areas of concern that every young adult should examine. What those areas are though you¿ll just have to read and find out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one sitting, the first time I opened it. It is such an emotional book, and I ended the book crying. But, this book has made me think about how I view life and how I treat people. It changed how I see everything, and I recommend it to all of my friends. I'm sure if you give this book a chance, you'll love it to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked the attitude Ben Wolf had throughout the book. Though for someone like me I wasn't interested in all the football action, but as far as the side story having the situation with his mom and dad. Also his relationship with Dallas Suzuki was a little dry in the beginning, but later when she finally told him what her secret was I was absorbed in the book because it only added to the difficulty he had and the challenge it would later turn out to be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, unlike a lot of teen fiction, really meant something to me once I finished reading. I thought the book looked interesting when I first picked it up, but after reading it I was so attached to the characters that the story was extremely meaningful and got me thinking about a lot of stuff I hadn't thought about before. Thank you, Chris Crutcher, for dealing with important ideas that a lot of writers skirt around.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a amazing book. We just got done reading in school it was a great book and made some of us cry in class which never happens when we read books in class. So i deffently think that everyone should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Book was hands-down one of the best books I have ever read, and I read a lot. It was super clever, and unlike any book I've ever read. The plot was unique, the writting was superb. I absolutly fell in love with the main character, and even though you know that he has to die at the end (if you've read the overview, you'll know that I'm not giving anything away here) I was completely torn up. Read this book, it will change your life. I finished reading it two weeks ago and I can stop thinking about it. It's just one of those books that sticks with you
Guest More than 1 year ago
Senior year is exciting. Most want to get as much done as they can, and have fun before they go off to college. Things are a little different for Ben Wolf. When Ben's doctor tells him he has a rare blood disease and only has one year to live, Ben says no to treatment and tries to do everything he ever wanted. This book was a great read, and didn't dissapoint me with the ending. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a novel that will make you laugh, but also make you really think.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is by far my favorite book. I wish that there was a sequel for this book. It had me hooke after day one and i re-read it twice. I can't seem to find any other book like it.
Chrisgchms14 More than 1 year ago
Deadline! ..I like the book Deadline by Chris Crutcher because it was suspenseful . One reason that Deadline is suspenseful is because the Doctor says to ben “otherwise you’ll be lucky to have a year”.The second reason the Deadline is suspenseful  is in the beginning you do not know if Ben makes the sports team or graduates high school.The last but final reason is that you do not know if the doctor is right or wrong or finds a cure and you do not know if ben will stay alive or just dies.this is why i like Deadline by Chris Crutcher because it was suspenseful and the three reason were what the Doctor says, if he graduates high school or sports team, and does he die or live.   Chrisgchms14 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a great book. I have read it twice and I am about to read it again. I would love to see this book made into a movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't even begin to tell you how emotional and inspirationonal this book was... Total must read! After I finished reading it (and bawling my eyes out), I sat back and really thought about how short life can be... You know? It just made me look at things in a completely different aspect. Besides the messge, which I've already conveyed I loved, the overall story was fantastic too. With his growing relationship with Dallas, his newfound friendship with Rudy, and his already broken family, you can't help but think how it's going to end all the way throught. It's just one of those books that makes you think, and personally, I love those books. Romance, comedy, family, and football- what's not to love?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a choice for one of my lit circle books for school. It's really good! The ending is kind of surprising... every once in a while, the author says things oddly and it confuses me... but overall, its a really good book! I read it in a couple days-couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book starts out with Ben Wolf getting news that he has a blood illness, that is leaving him about a year to live. When he finds this out, he tells pretty much no one. Not his mom, dad, brother, friends, only his therapist, and hey-soos. In his mind, Ben realizes he has nothing to loose, and joins the school's football team his little brother plays on. Later on in the story you learn about Dallas, Ben's crush, who he eventually gets to know very well in the story. As the illness start to kick in, Ben decides it's time to tell, first Dallas, that does not deal with it very well, making him and completely ignoring him. Then his mom, dad, and brother, that just like any family member would do, cry. The ending of the book I really did like, it ended happy,and funny. I would recommend this book to any person who likes football because a lot of the book involves it, or really anyone. Some parts in the book doget confusing and you have to re-read them, but bsides that, I liked the book.
HeinrichJoJH More than 1 year ago
Ben Wolf, your average small-town high school senior is dying. He has been diagnosed with a terminal blood disease at his cross-country physical and has less then a year to live. So he immediately tells all of his family and friends and begins treatment, the chances of living are very slim but it's the best choice. Except he doesn't. He decides to live out his one year life and not tell anyone about his disease in hopes that he will be able to live this last year normal. This choice is much to the dismay of Ben's doctor and therapist, but it's his choice because he's eighteen and an adult by law. Ben decides go out for football. He also decides to start questioning his social studies teacher, Mr. Lambeer. Ben thinks that Mr. Lambeer is full of crap in his teaching and doesn't actually teach the important things. Ben also decides to go after Dallas Suzuki, who has been a crush of Ben for quite sometime. Quite to his surprise, Ben prospers on the football field, gets Mr. Lambeer to question himself, and goes to homecoming with Dallas. This is soon forgotten when Ben is on his deathbed. Read this book to learn about Ben's trying experience and how he gets through telling his family, and Dallas, the girl Ben loves about his disease.
bookwormxoxo More than 1 year ago
This book did not pull me in right away. I was seriously considering giving up on it, especially during the football-heavy parts, which, as someone who knows absolutely nothing about football, I found terribly confusing and kind of boring. But I stuck with it, and a little further in, I found myself completely hooked. Everyone from Ben to Cody to Dallas to Rudy to Sooner Cowans was completely original and quirky and multifaceted, making this one of the most interesting, heartfelt books I've read in a while. And, I will admit, I was in tears by the end, which isn't common for me.
Kimberly Ratchford More than 1 year ago
I loved it, but it was a little disappointing. The whole tone of the stoty is just so lively and it just seems like it would end up like that queen latifa movie 'last holiday' where it all ends up being a big mix up. Hes must givem,n so many oppurtunities and it all comes to the sad ending. It was good and it makes you think, but the ending leaves a little to be desired.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a really great book, if you are like me and you like staying up late reading because you cant put the book down then this is the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
im obsessed with books so i bought this one. [dur] anyways i started reading it the beginning was kinda slow but it got much better :]. you should read it. i love how ben leaves his mark on the world. Good Book. you should read it :]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deadline is a book about a boy who discovers hes dieing He finds out from a blood test his docter had done. It made me wonder what if he never had the blood test and didnt know. You and me could have some terminal illness and never know it. Thats why i believe that you should live your life to the best of your abbilities without regret becouse the mistaked you made were destined to be because at the time it was what you thought was best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With dallas no lir
MiguelPerez97 More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book to anyone. Its truly is an inspiring text. It made me want to live life with no limits and to live life to the fullest. The book was kind of emotional at times but it also made me feel good too. I don't really like reading books but this book was to good. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone of Chris Crutchers characters have been abused, died, takes drugs, is crazy or has a sibling who is crazed, drugged ect. I am sorry to say but all his books are extremely depressing. Yes, these books have humor but it doesnt make up for all the depression. I havent read a book of chris crutchers where any of the characters werent abused, died etc. I would not recommend his books to people who do not like a depressing story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing, one of thee best books I've read in a long time.