In the Space Left Behind

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Overview

When Colm Drucker's mother heads out to Las Vegas for her third honeymoon, Colm has plans of his own—organizing his baseball cards, playing guitar, and remodeling the family house as a surprise wedding present. But from the start of his week home alone, Colm, practical and adept, is faced with a series of unforeseen and bewildering events: His dog, Chester, meets an untimely death. His long-absent father calls out of the blue with a bizarre proposition. The beautiful Melanie Phelps kisses him suddenly and ...
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New York, NY 2007 Hard cover New. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 394 p. Intended for a juvenile audience. Intended for a young adult/teenage audience.

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Overview

When Colm Drucker's mother heads out to Las Vegas for her third honeymoon, Colm has plans of his own—organizing his baseball cards, playing guitar, and remodeling the family house as a surprise wedding present. But from the start of his week home alone, Colm, practical and adept, is faced with a series of unforeseen and bewildering events: His dog, Chester, meets an untimely death. His long-absent father calls out of the blue with a bizarre proposition. The beautiful Melanie Phelps kisses him suddenly and inexplicably outside the supermarket. When Colm learns that his mother plans to put the family home he dearly loves up for sale, he resolves to do everything in his power to save it, even if it means traveling across the country with the one person Colm never wanted to depend on for anything.
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Space. There are lots of empty spaces in Colm's life right now. His mother is off on her honeymoon. His sister moved out of the house a while back because she could not get along with their mother. Now Chester, Colm's companion and friend for almost fourteen years, is dead, killed by a falling window box. The summer is shaping up to be one of losses and holes that cannot easily be filled. That is when Colm's long-gone father elects to reappear. Soon Colm is accompanying his father on a cross-country trip, determined that no one and nothing will ever fill the empty spaces inside. Ackerman's debut novel is peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters whose lives intersect in interesting patterns over the course of the story as they negotiate new relationships and attempt to repair mistakes of the past. Although this theme could easily fall into familiar territory, Ackerman creates some rough terrain for her characters to navigate. The gap between Colm and his father, beautifully mirrored as they spend time at the Grand Canyon, seems unbridgeable. Exploring the depths of complex relationships, Ackerman offers readers hope that they can leap such chasms. Reviewer: Teri S. Lesesne
School Library Journal

Gr 7-10
The window box that falls and kills Colm's dog on the night that the teen's mother marries for the third time pretty much describes how his life is going. His father, who deserted the family 15 years earlier, wants to see him. His mother and her new husband are honeymooning in Las Vegas, where she's gotten a surprise job singing with a band, and they're seriously considering staying on. That would mean selling the family home, the one Colm's great-grandfather built and that Colm loves. He finally agrees to meet his dad, who offers him a proposition and a chance to earn enough money to buy the house from his mother. All he has to do is drive with his father from New England to California and he can have $70,000. The two embark on a cross-country road trip that becomes a journey of self-discovery as the 15-year-old learns that forgiveness is possible and that life can deal you emotionally satisfying surprises. With a little romance added in, this is a perfectly delightful coming-of-age novel of family, friendship, first love, and finances. Often funny, frequently poignant, and always compelling, Ackermann's first young adult novel is a great read.
—Janet HilbunCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Bewildering life changes erupt at the tilt of an IHOP syrup bottle, or so the story begins in playwright Ackermann's punchy first YA endeavor. Fifteen-year-old Colm is a walking paradox: He's good-looking, a handyman, astute at business and dedicated to home and hearth. At the same time, he's a homebody, stuck in a rut, with little or no contact with the world outside his family. When his simpleton mom embarks on her second or third or fourth honeymoon and threatens to sell the family homestead, Colm decides to buy it himself. Funds for the purchase arrive in the guise of Lloyd Henry, his ne'er-do-well deadbeat biological dad, whose friend has taken a warrant of some sort out on his life for 70-grand. Colm's plan: to drive his dad-without a license-from Massachusetts to California, collect the cash and buy the house. Along the journey, readers meet an outlandish, kooky cast of characters, including a sister with serious anger-management issues and a grapefruit-obsessed escaped convict. Amid it all, Ackermann's cinematic, bluntly off-kilter dialogue keeps readers guessing and the pages turning. Less sophisticated than John Green's An Abundance of Katherines (2006), but similar in theme, Colm's internal and physical search for self, family, friendship and home-not to mention his dad's clipped, endearing way of showing affection-is exactly the bizarre father-son story you'll wish Hollywood would make. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060722555
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/16/2007
  • Pages: 400
  • Age range: 13 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Joan Ackermann is a playwright, journalist, and screenwriter. Over a dozen of her plays have been published and produced around the country, and her adaptation of her play Off the Map was released as a feature film directed by Campbell Scott. Joan is the cofounder and Artistic Director of Mixed Company, a twenty-five-year-old theater in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. A Special Contributor to Sports Illustrated for seven years, she has freelanced for many magazines, including Time, The Atlantic Monthly, and Esquire. She lives in the Berkshires, where she enjoys being a part-time hiking guide.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2008

    reader

    this book, in the space left behind, is a very gripping book but is extremly boring and fast. i wouldnt really recommond it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2008

    You can't choose your family.

    One wouldn¿t think that the death of a family pet would be a good way to start any story, but that is just how Ms. Ackermann starts hers. Colm Drucker has stayed behind in the Pittsfield, MA family home while his mother celebrates her new marriage. Unsure how to break the news to his family, Colm does what he does best, retreats into himself and ponders how best to approach the task. For fifteen, Colm has grown up in the space left behind when his father walked out on his mother and sister. His gorgeous mother makes do the best way she knows how¿by searching for another man who will take care of her and her family. When she threatens to sell the family home¿the one built by her grandmother¿Colm determines that he will buy it and preserve it. When he is offered $70,000 to go cross country with his dying father, he sees the opportunity to make that dream come true. This fascinating book lives up to the praises on its back jacket. There are no sweeping curricular ties, but it certainly is a book worth reading and would be enjoyed by young men as well as young women.

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