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Grand & Humble

Grand & Humble

3.3 4
by Brent Hartinger

Two teenage boys, both at a crossroads...

Harlan and Manny are both seventeen years old, but they couldn't be more different. Harlan is an athlete with a beautiful girlfriend, the son of a powerful U.S. Senator, and possibly the most popular kid in his high school. Meanwhile, Manny is a quirky theater geek, the son of a struggling single father, and one of


Two teenage boys, both at a crossroads...

Harlan and Manny are both seventeen years old, but they couldn't be more different. Harlan is an athlete with a beautiful girlfriend, the son of a powerful U.S. Senator, and possibly the most popular kid in his high school. Meanwhile, Manny is a quirky theater geek, the son of a struggling single father, and one of the school's least popular kids. And yet, Harlan and Manny both share the same sense of foreboding, a feeling that something is not right in each of their lives.

They have something else in common as well, even if they don’t know it. Fourteen years ago, when they were both three years old, a tragedy occurred — an accident that would link the two boys together forever, even as it ultimately drove them apart. It’s an event that both of them barely remember, but it still haunts them in the form of Harlan's premonitions and Manny's nightmares. Somehow both boys know that nothing will ever be right again until they can each unravel the secret of the terrifying instant that lies at the center of both their lives.

An All-New Edition, Rewritten and Revised by the Author!

“An astonishing surprise ending, unlikely to be anticipated but fairly clued for the reader detective. The immensely talented author is a master of structure, but even without the stunt conclusion, the well-realized characters would grip readers of all ages.”
– Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

“Talk about a fork in the road!…[A] taut and clever thriller.”
– Kliatt

“This is a taut, skillfully woven psychological thriller with an ending they’ll never see coming; fans of coming age stories and clever plots will be absorbed by this haunting parable.”

“This suspenseful novel also includes genuinely thought-provoking questions about why we are who we are, and how the smallest choices may have the largest consequences.”
– TeenReads.com

“A wonderful story told with a sure and able hand.”
– Crime Spree Magazine

Winner of the Washington State Book Award!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two 17-year-olds with very different lives both begin experiencing strange phenomena in Hartinger's (Geography Club) suspenseful novel. Rich, popular Harlan, the son of a senator, begins having premonitions of his own death (one of which almost comes true when a bus narrowly misses him on the corner of Grand and Humble Streets). Meanwhile, theater "geek" Manny has terrible nightmares, which make him question his own past-questions that his usually sensitive father does not want to answer. Readers will be curious about the connection between these two opposite protagonists, whose stories unfold in alternating chapters. But they may find that some of the plot points stretch credibility. It's hard to believe, for instance, that Manny did not previously question his missing baby pictures, and Harlan's mother seems overly cruel (she began blackmailing him back when he was in the Boy Scouts) and micromanages his life, using guilt trips and threats. Still, despite the contrivances, readers will likely be impressed when they finally discover the link between Manny and Harlan (and they will have something to think about when the book ends). Ages 14-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Two complete strangers do not directly cross paths but live very similar lives. Harlan is a well presented Senator's son. Manny works in the school play as the lighting guy and is from a single parent family. Both characters have a common element: they experience anxiety ranging from panic attacks and nightmares. Eventually, they both start to figure things out—separately. Harlan, being from a well-connected family, tries to pull it together. His friend, Ricky, ends up encountering Manny. Similarly, Manny's friend, Elsa, ends up involved in Harlan's life. In an effort to figure out reality, both of the boys end up downtown to find their answers at the intersection of Grand and Humble. Readers will be satisfied to the very end when they find out what the plot reveals in this psychological thriller full of twists and turns. With alternating character chapters, this book reads quickly and pulls in all readers who enjoy suspense. 2006, Harper Tempest/Harper Collins, Ages 14 up.
—Kelly Grebinoski
Wealthy, athletic, and popular, Harlan is the son of a United States Senator. His controlling mother forces him to spend all his time at charitable photo opportunities. Manny is the lighting designer for the high school drama club. He spends his free time making movies with his one close friend, Elsa. Harlan and Manny are having frequent nightmares about death. They go to the same high school, interact with some of the same people, and yet know nothing of each other and the horrific dreams that they have in common. In alternating chapters, Harlan tries to interpret his dreams in order to save his own life, and Manny looks to his dreams to uncover secrets about his past. Likeable, believable characters make this novel a quick read. The diverse cast includes a deaf best friend, a homosexual athlete, and a housewife turned psychic. Elsa, the deaf character, is a welcome addition to young adult literature. She is well portrayed as a regular teen, who just happens to sign and read lips, territory not often covered in the genre. Unfortunately while the build-up is suspenseful and the characters are appealing, the ending may be unsatisfying to many readers, for it is neither completely open-ended nor smoothly tied up. Although not a first-purchase as a suspense novel, consider this book an option for collections lacking diverse characters. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, HarperCollins, 224p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Melissa Potter
Paulette Clark
Grand and Humble is an intriguing tale of two young men, Harlan and Manny, whose lives are intertwined in a mysterious journey of similarities and opposites, making the reader presume they are connected. Harlan, the good-looking, popular teenage son of a senator, has premonitions of disaster that haunt his life. The forebodings cause anxiety attacks and a greater rift between his mother and him. The Chess Club geek, Manny, is consumed with nightmares that leave him terrified and exhausted. The geek controls the lighting in the theatre, but he cannot control the frightening scenes of his nightmares. His easygoing father becomes aloof and avoids Manny's questions regarding Manny's childhood. The connections between the two teenagers seem to surface and the plot unravels, until the engrossed reader realizes an astounding new twist is added. The secret of the two boys lies at the intersection of Grand and Humble.
Popular jock Harlan and backstage geek Manny are the same age and attend the same high school, but they're very different from each other. They share something in common lately, though: both are experiencing horrifying visions and nightmares, "premonitions of disaster." Harlan, son of a senator, figures the problem has to do with his need to stand up to his controlling mother. Manny thinks it has to do with some secret his father is keeping from him: is he adopted? Their friends, a gay boy and a deaf girl, are sympathetic to their plight; a psychic insists "dark forces" are haunting Harlan. There's a surprise twist at the end: talk about a fork in the road! The title refers to the intersection of two streets, at which a fateful accident took place. Are the two boys really one, and do their seemingly separate lives represent alternative futures? This taut and clever thriller by the author of Geography Club, The Last Chance Texaco, and The Order of the Poison Oak will appeal to mystery and suspense fans. KLIATT Codes: S--Recommended for senior high school students. 2006, HarperCollins, 224p., and Lib. bdg: Ages 15 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
Kirkus Reviews
Harlan is cool and Manny is a geek, but both inhabit this unnamed town, and their paths crisscross in odd ways. Harlan is the son of a Senator and a star swimmer whose mother is in total control of his life. Manny's the lighting guru for the Drama Club and his father is a solo parent since his mother died when he was three. Both boys suffer from nightmares that foretell disaster, often connected to the intersection aptly named in the title. Pushed by their need to know more about their childhood and family history, Harlan remains focused on trying to take control of his own life, while Manny struggles to get the information he needs from his father. While the main characters aren't connected, the people in their lives intersect; Harlan's best friend, openly gay Ricky, runs into Manny in a casual encounter similar to the way Manny's friend Elsa, who happens to be deaf, manages an important connection with Harlan. Suspense builds as the ominous dreams become more intense and each boy struggles to find a way past their fears. Parallels and double meanings abound in this tricky, but satisfying, double narrative. It's all about fate and connections for the grand and the humble. (Fiction. YA)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“A taut, skilfully woven psychological thriller with an ending they’ll never see coming.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A taut, skilfully woven psychological thriller with an ending they’ll never see coming.”

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Brent Hartinger
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Read an Excerpt

Grand & Humble

By Brent Hartinger

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Brent Hartinger
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060567287

Chapter One


Two faces. Two sides to the same person. That's what Harlan's English teacher was getting at. It was so obvious, he couldn't believe everyone else hadn't seen it right from the start. How could they be so blind?

"Harlan?" Mrs. Woodburn said to him from up near the blackboard. "Perhaps you'd like to enlighten the class with your opinion on the subject at hand."

"My opinion?" Harlan said, with the perfect drawl.

"Yes, your opinion."

He grinned. "My opinion is that blue is a really good color on you. It goes with your eyes."

There was a moment's silence, like the instant after you slam the gas pedal, but before the spark plugs fire and the tires squeal out.

Then they squealed. All at once, the class started laughing, just like Harlan had known they would. And Mrs. Woodburn blushed. Harlan had known she'd do that too.

But Mrs. Woodburn was more self-possessed than he'd thought. "Thank you so very much, Harlan," the teacher said, trying to keep her voice even. "I'll keep your opinion in mind when I'm dressing each morning. But I'm wondering if you have an opinion on the subject of The Scarlet Letter."

"Oh," Harlan said. "That subject at hand." The class snickered again, if only at the boldness of his banter.

"Harlan, just answer the question!" Mrs. Woodburn was getting impatient. It was, therefore, time to get serious. The difference between Harlan and the idiots who spent their afternoons in detention was that he always knew not to push things too far.

"Split personality," he said without missing

a beat.

Mrs. Woodburn hesitated. "What about it?"

"That's my opinion. That's what you're getting at. It's like the characters have two different sides to themselves. Opposite faces."

"Which characters?"

"Hester, Chillingworth, Dimmesdale," Harlan said. "Pearl too, in a way. They all have public personas that are at odds with their private ones. And the challenge they have in The Scarlet Letter is whether or not they can reconcile the two conflicting natures in their souls. The characters who do -- Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl -- find peace. The character who can't -- Chillingworth -- doesn't. According to the author, he shrivels away 'like an uprooted weed that lies wilting in the sun.' "

Mrs. Woodburn stared at him. He'd struck her speechless, and he'd intended that too. Just because he was popular and athletic and good-looking, that didn't mean he wasn't smart. Why was that always so hard for people to remember?

"Thank you, Harlan," Mrs. Woodburn said simply.

Harlan leaned back in his chair and stretched his legs out under his desk. Mrs. Woodburn wouldn't be calling on him again anytime soon.

"Hel-looo?" Harlan's girlfriend, Amber, said as they stood together in the crowded school hallway. "Earth to Harlan."

"What?" he said, eyes suddenly focused on her.

"You're not listening to me, that's what."

"Am so."

"Then what did I just say?"

"You were talking about how you went shopping. At the mall."

Amber glared back at him. "I don't know how you do it."

It's not that hard, Harlan thought. She was always talking about shopping at the mall. Either that or her role as Guinevere in the school production of Camelot.

"You are so slick," Amber went on. "You're a -- what's the word? Rube?"

"Rake," Harlan said. "A rube is a hick. Or maybe you mean 'rogue'?"

"No, I'll go with 'rake.' That sounds right. Rhymes with 'snake.' "

Harlan met her grin for grin. Amber was blond and beautiful, but he was no mere planet orbiting blindly around her. No, he was the center of this solar system, not her.

"It's like what you said to Mrs. Woodburn in English today," Amber said. "How do you get away with stuff like that? That's sexual harassment, you know that?"

"No," Harlan said. "It's only sexual harassment if you're old and fat and bald. I'm seventeen and hunky, so it's just me being charming."

Amber rolled her eyes. "Where do you wanna go for lunch today?"

"What?" Harlan said, suddenly uneasy.

"Lunch?" Amber said. "Off-campus? What we do every single day at noon?"

But Harlan barely heard her. In his mind, he had been transported to a different place and time. The surroundings there were shadowy and indistinct, but one thing was very clear: in that place, Harlan was choking. In his mind's eye he struggled, gagging, trying to cough up whatever was in his throat. It wasn't working; he was suffocating, and no one was helping him. Harlan was experiencing all this, feeling the fear and anxiety of choking, even the bodily sensations -- a sharp, throbbing ache in his throat. But at the same time, he was outside the vision, watching it all from one side, engulfed by the images, as if in an IMAX theater of the mind, but unable to affect the outcome.

The experience was also silent -- completely, eerily silent. Was it a premonition of lunch that afternoon? That part still wasn't clear, but it sure felt like he was seeing the future.

"Harlan?" Amber said.

"What!" he said, jumping. Harlan was a lot of things, but he'd never been jumpy, at least not until these past few weeks.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Harlan said, his mouth dry as toast. "I'm fine."

The vision had gone as quickly as it had come. But the effects lingered. Harlan was flushed, his pulse pounding.

The fact is, it wasn't just the characters in The Scarlet Letter who had two faces. Lately, Harlan did too. One face was calm, cool, and collected, always steady, always in control -- one of the load-bearing social supports that kept Roosevelt High School from collapsing. That face had been elected student body president by the largest margin in school history.

But the other face of Harlan Chesterton? Not so confident -- in fact, downright fearful. And moody. And easily distracted.

There was a reason, of course. For the past few weeks, Harlan had been having these occasional premonitions of disaster -- visions of what seemed to be the future, usually of death. At least they'd started out as occasional. Now he was having them two or more times a day.


Excerpted from Grand & Humble by Brent Hartinger Copyright © 2006 by Brent Hartinger. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

BRENT HARTINGER is an author and screenwriter. His first novel, Geography Club, is also a successful stage play and a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula. He has since published twelve more novels, most from major publishers such as HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. As a screenwriter, Brent has four film projects in development or pre-production, including Decked, the animated story behind a deck of playing cards, and The Starfish Scream, a teen drama. In 2005, Brent co-founded the entertainment website AfterElton.com, which was sold to MTV/Viacom in 2006. He currently co-hosts a podcast called Media Carnivores from his home in Seattle, where he lives with his husband, writer Michael Jensen. www.brenthartinger.com

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Grand & Humble 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous 3 days ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm really glad this Nook book was free cause I would have been pissed if it cost money. The kids in the story are well written, you feel their emotion and you kinda start piecing together a mystery.. but then as it starts wrapping up it even says that the one boy knows the name of the other or knows of him..and then nothing.. NOTHING.. so are they twins? Did they get separated? is the lie the parents told each of them a lie?? Is it an alternate world? Tthe psychic see both and the share friends.. The ending just drops, nothing is explained or finish.. It was a crapfest of an ended enough to make me write a review. Don't waste your time or money on this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read