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Hothouse: A Novel

Hothouse: A Novel

3.0 4
by Chris Lynch

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If you do it right, it can be a life. The hothouse, the guys, the glory. But just like that, it can all go up in smoke.

In the beginning it was strange, ya know, because of all that we had lost. But there was something about it that felt so good and so right, too: "I'm so proud of you, Russ." "We'll always be here for you, man."


If you do it right, it can be a life. The hothouse, the guys, the glory. But just like that, it can all go up in smoke.

In the beginning it was strange, ya know, because of all that we had lost. But there was something about it that felt so good and so right, too: "I'm so proud of you, Russ." "We'll always be here for you, man." "Heroes don't pay for nothin' in this town." It was nonstop. The mayor shook my hand. Ladies sent food. I've never eaten so much baked ham in my life.

And now? Now the phone won't stop ringing from the crazies ready to blame me. My mom has to cry herself to sleep. They take a firefighter, a man, and they pump him up so big. . . . But once they start taking it away from you, they don't stop until they leave nothing on the bones.

First they needed heroes, then they needed blood.

Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“An understated yet moving story about heroism, community opinion, the evanescence of reputation, and father-son love.”
ALA Booklist
“Russ’ friendships are so real they hurt. The story hurts, too, but that’s how it should be.”
“Lynch’s writing has a lyrical, almost musical quality. But underneath this, buoying the story all along, is a fighting spirit, a humor, hopefulness and passion for life.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Lynch is a National Book Award finalist and the author of many highly acclaimed books for young adults, including The Big Game of Everything, Who the Man, and the Michael L. Printz Honor Book Freewill; Iceman, Shadow boxer, Gold Dust, and Slot Machine, all ALA Best Books for Young Adults; and Extreme Elvin. He also mentors aspiring writers and teaches in the creative writing program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Hothouse 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this authors vietnam books, but found this sort of dirty with lots of swearing. Disapointing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hot House was a pretty good book even though I thought it was hard to follow because the story jumped back and forth from when Russell’s dad was alive to when he wasn’t. The story has two main characters, Russell and DJ. Their dads were fire fighters and died in the line of duty. They were really respected. DJ and Russell were called “sons of heroes” until everybody thinks that their dads were on drugs and intoxicated when they were on duty, that part of the book I did not care for. The boys were really close when they were younger, but now went to different high schools and have drifted apart. Their dads were best friends and each boy was named after the other’s father. Russell tried to get close again to DJ since they were both going through a rough time. When DJ and Russell’s fathers died they had so many people come to their houses. A line of people would be standing outside of Russell’s house to shake hands with him and his mom. The line of people would then leave Russell’s house and go across the street to DJ’s house to do the same thing. The story pretty much takes place around the town where they live. They were either at home, school, a beach house or the Hot House, which was the fire station that their dads belonged to. The conflict of the story was after the autopsy came back, people changed their opinions of the boys and their fathers. They were no longer considered heroes. Russell thought his dad would never to that and wanted to fight for the truth and save his dad’s reputation. DJ was keeping something to himself and was not going to fight. I recommend that you read the book to find out if the boys become close again and if the story about their dads was true.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Two local firefighters are heroes. They are dubbed Outrageous and Courageous. Members of the fire station, known as the Hothouse, they have rescued many in their careers. Even in this last big fire, they managed to save an old woman, but unfortunately not her cat or themselves. Russ and DJ are the sons of those two brave firefighters. The boys are just beginning to adjust to the losses in their lives. The funerals are over and the mourners have left. Now, the remaining family must learn to carry on. Over the years, the two boys have grown apart. Best of friends in the early years, they worshiped their fathers and dreamed of following in their footsteps. After awhile they headed in separate directions, different schools and different interests, but now this tragedy has brought them back together. Although each is mourning in his own way, they lean on one another for support. After a huge neighborhood celebration honoring the two fallen men, life begins to calm down, and the boys get ready to return to school. They step back into the reality of their old lives just when news reports are released indicating the possible involvement of drugs and alcohol in the deaths of their dads. Russ's reaction is to fight back and prove the rumors untrue, and he is totally shocked that DJ doesn't share the same feelings about the situation. How can people believe that these fine men were anything other than honorable and brave? In HOTHOUSE, Chris Lynch portrays two teens struck by tragedy struggling to make sense of the events and connect them to the memories they have of their lost loved ones. Their story is proof that facts can dramatically change when someone scratches below the surface, and what is discovered in the process will often impact the lives of many.