Freewillby Chris Lynch
Will knows he is meant to be a pilot. But instead he finds himself with a bunch of kids in wood shop, in a school that's known as Hopeless High. Will doesn't know what he's doing thereor mabye he just doesn't want to admit the truth. Once upon a time he made beautiful things like gnomes, whirligigs, and furniture. Now he's driven to create strange wooden totemsand he doesn't know why.
No one knows why local teens are committing suicide, either, one after the other. The deaths all have one thing in common: beautifully carved wooden tributes that appear just afteror just beforethe bodies are found. Will's afraid he knows who's responsible for the deaths. And lurking just behind that knowledge is another secret, one so explosive that he might not be able to face it and survive...
Part thriller, part mystery, Chris Lynch's newest book is a rollercoaster ride through a passionate young man's psycheand an unforgettable emotional journey through grief, guilt, and hope from a writer at the height of his powers.
About the Author:
Chris Lynch is the author of many highly acclaimed books for young adults, including Iceman, Shadow Boxer, and Slot Machine, all ALA Best Books for Young Adults and ALA Recommended Books for Young Readers. He is also the author of Extreme Elvin, the sequel to Slot Machine; Whitechurch; and most recently, Gold Dust.
Read an Excerpt
"I said, nice table, that. Pretty work. The inlay is classic. And it's strong, huh?"
He stands on the table, adding eighteen inches to his height. He bounces up and down on his toes, testing the table's strength and adding, taking away, adding and taking away, an additional two inches. He hops down, to where nature put him. Five foot seven. Do you know this one's name? No, you don't. Don't and won't.
"But it doesn't look it. That's what's really nice about work like this. Real strong and functional, but with delicate lines. Nice, nice work."
He is sliding his hand over the highly polished finish of the nice, nice work in question.
"Thanks. But it's not mine," you say.
"What? What are you talking about? Of course it's yours. 55
"No. Sorry, but it isn't."
"Yes, it is. What are you, jerking me around? I been sitting here three feet away from you for two weeks watching you do it."
Watching you. Watching you? Two weeks watching you.
"You just finished it yesterday morning. It's just dry today. It's nice work, why you want to pretend you didn't do it?"
You look at that table, and you agree. It is nice work.
"Two weeks?" you ask. "Does it really take somebody two weeks of life to make something like that?"
"Fine. Be that way."
The surface of the table is the size of a chessboard. Your classmate has left it to get back to his own knotty-pine creation which he says is a bookshelf, but you know is for videos.
Why are you here?
Whose table is that?
Why are you in wood shop? You are meant to be a pilot. How does wood shop get you anycloser to being a pilot?
But here you are. And you do not like to be idle. Devil's workshop and all. You don't know why you are here but you know you are, and you are meant to be doing something so you might as well.
Why would somebody spend two weeks of his life on a table big enough for one small lamp, one can of Pringles and one glass of water and nothing else?
And why would another somebody spend two weeks watching him?
Beautiful plank of blond oak. Four feet long, two feet wide, two inches deep. Little table maybe means nothing, but this is a beautiful piece of wood.
"This is a beautiful piece of wood, Mr. jacks. May I?"
"Yes it is, and yes you may, and what's more I have fifteen others just like it stacked up in the storage. Sweetheart deal, fell from the sky, and you shoppers are the beneficiaries."
You stroke the piece of wood as if it were an Angora cat. You could do that stroke up or down or sideways or swirls all day long if you wanted to and never pick up a splinter. It is a magnificent piece of wood.
"That mean you're finished with that table now?"
"The table. You filing it?"
Your classmate takes this as his cue, sliding on over beside you. "He says it ain't his, Mr. jacks."
"Well it's not, if he's finished with it. It's the school's. Just like that video rack is going to be if you ever complete it."
"It's a bookshelf, sir."
"You done with the table then?" Mr. jacks, just like the video-shelving guy, takes an up-close-and-personal inspection of the table in question. "Nice finish. I can see myself. Extra credit when I can see myself. Smooth, strong, clean edges. Fine work, as usual."
The kid is laughing in a way that makes clear to every body that he doesn't find anything funny. "He says it's not his, sir."
"It's not mine."
"No, sorry to say," Mr. jacks says, "but it isn't. I wish I could let you guys keep some of your stuff, but the rules are the rules. We keep them through term, then we donate. "
Mr. jacks takes the table up and walks it off, to where they take the wood that has been made furniture and is thus no longer of any use to the class.
"Mr. Jacks." You are looking ever closer at that beautiful blond board and all its fine grains.
"Huh? Oh, ya, knock yourself out. But it better be great, using my star lumber."
"Great," you say. An answer. "Great," you repeat, a question, a promise, a further question.
Why do you do it? What is the driver? You don't know.
"What are you making there, Will?" Mr. jacks asks.
You release the trigger on the handsaw, raise your protective glasses. "Not sure, really." The rest of the class continues with hammering, planing, chipping and slicing with pneumatic tools and raw muscle power, so that you have to strain to be heard. But this is not new. It is standard and barely noticeable, to have to strain to be heard.
"Well, it's rather important that you know what you're making. Otherwise, how can I judge whether you've made it or not when you're done?"You look up, and try to smile. You do smile, successfully if not radiantly. "Faith, Mr. jacks," is what you say.
"Faith," he says. "Faith. You mean I'm just supposed to trust you, that you're doing something worthwhile with your time and my wood and the school's machinery"'
"Well. Well, I suppose that's what I'm saying, sir."
Mr. Jacks looks all around, for comic effect, the way teachers do in regular classrooms when they want to emphasize that a student has said something fairly ridiculous. But this is not the regular class, nobody hears or notices what is going on between you two, and Mr. Jacks has to give an answer all on his own.
"Okay," he says. "You haven't botched anything so far. So I guess you've earned a little faith."
Is it? Is it faith if you've earned it? Isn't faith putting trust in something for no good reason? Maybe you should ask.Freewill. Copyright © by Chris Lynch. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Chris Lynch is the Printz Honor Award–winning author of several highly acclaimed young adult novels, including Printz Honor Book Freewill, Iceman, Gypsy Davy, and Shadow Boxer—all ALA Best Books for Young Adults—as well as Killing Time in Crystal City, Little Blue Lies, Pieces, Kill Switch, Angry Young Man, and Inexcusable, which was a National Book Award finalist and the recipient of six starred reviews. He holds an MA from the writing program at Emerson College. He teaches in the Creative Writing MFA program at Lesley University. He lives in Boston and in Scotland.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I thought this book was really good, it was different than anything I have ever read before, which I like. I had to leave behind all my expectations of a young adult novel and keep an open mind. I like that Chris Lynch came up with something different.
I liked the plot of the book. I didn't, however, like how the book was wrote in the 2nd person. It was kind of repetitive as you continued reading all sorts of questions rather than getting more into what is happeneing in the book.
This is a cool book. It kind of makes you want to sit down and think, and put yourself in Will's shoes. its a 4 strarrer because i think his other books are better Example: slot machine ext. elvin, Mick books.
I thought this book sounded really interesting from the back, and it was. The way it was written, with the author writing directly to you...(Ex: You liked that, didn't you? You knew about her didn't you?) it got kind of annoying. I liked the story, but not the way it was being told.
if you wanna be amazed read this book it sweeps you off your feet and make you wanna keep reading more books like it
I only got the sample, but I didnt like how it was written. He only asks questions, you cant really tell where anythnig is going, or how it makes sense, and it generally is annoying. I didnt like it, this book made me angry from only a few pages..