Period 8

Period 8

4.4 9
by Chris Crutcher

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Period 8. An hour a day. You can hang out. You can eat your lunch. You can talk. Or listen. Or neither. Or both. Nothing is off-limits. The only rule is that you keep it real; that you tell the truth.

Heller High senior Paul Baum—aka Paulie Bomb—tells the truth. Not the "Wow, that's an ugly sweater" variety of truth, but the other kind.

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Period 8. An hour a day. You can hang out. You can eat your lunch. You can talk. Or listen. Or neither. Or both. Nothing is off-limits. The only rule is that you keep it real; that you tell the truth.

Heller High senior Paul Baum—aka Paulie Bomb—tells the truth. Not the "Wow, that's an ugly sweater" variety of truth, but the other kind. The truth that matters. It might be hard. It often hurts. But Paulie doesn't know how not to tell it. When he tells his girlfriend Hannah the life-altering, messed-up, awful truth, his life falls apart. The truth can get complicated, fast.

But someone in Period 8 is lying. And Paulie, Hannah, and just about everyone else who stops by the safe haven of the P-8 room daily are deceived. And when a classmate goes missing and the mystery of her disappearance seeps beyond P-8 and into every hour of the day, all hell breaks loose.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The coolest teacher at Heller High is “Logs,” as the students call him, who hosts an extended therapy session in his classroom during lunch, the “Period 8” of the title. Even in Crutcher’s normally sure hands, this premise doesn’t work, largely because the action of the story isn’t remotely believable. Basically, a psychopath is roping the school’s prettiest girls (including one nicknamed the Virgin Mary) into a sex ring. Logs and his mentee, 17-year-old distance swimmer Paulie Baum, slowly unravel what’s going on, leading to a high-octane finish that will keep readers furiously flipping the pages to uncover who the good guys really are. But subplots about Paulie’s parents’ marital woes and Paulie’s struggle to finish his senior essay on “adolescent decision-making,” coupled with cartoonish villains and implausible details—when the Virgin Mary goes missing, police recruit the Period 8 crew to help them scour the woods for her body—may stop some readers from reaching the exciting conclusion. Ages 14–up. Agent: Darhansoff & Verrill Literary Agents. (Apr.)
Laurie Halse Anderson
“Period 8 is the best of Crutcher: warmth, humor, and spot-on teen reality, but coupled with terrifying intensity and a shocking ending.”
ALA Booklist
“Crutcher writes vivid sports action scenes, and teens’ interest will be held by the story’s dramatic premise.”
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Alicia Abdul
A suspenseful thriller from the usually character-driven Crutcher, this mystery features a cast of characters dealing with truth, but with more edge. The truth is hashed out during period 8 in school with a retiring teacher, Mr. Logs, and a group of students whose rules are that what is said there, stays there, and that they must be honest at all times. But this takes an unrealistic and eerie turn when Paul admits to cheating on his girlfriend; Hannah begins seeking Mr. Logs’s help in the middle of the night; and all other members openly question why the perfect student, nicknamed the “Virgin Mary,” has started acting strangely and missing school. The unfolding drama of each character’s baggage adds slight confusion but does not overcomplicate the need to find out how another character, Arney, the class president and a member of Period 8, has a hand in Mary’s periodic disappearances only to have her reappear in unconventional ways. Readers who enjoy Todd Strasser’s Thrillogy series or the heart-pounding conclusions in any of Gail Giles’s books would do well to pick up Period 8. The book is engaging, with a good balance of sporty and suspenseful, and an insistence on finding out what happens next. These characteristics will absolutely appeal to boys who are not opposed to abundant cursing, mild sex, and seeking the truth. Reviewer: Alicia Abdul; Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Bruce Logsdon's Period 8 session, held during the regular lunch period, is a place for Heller High School students to talk about their concerns and feelings. Logsdon, or Mr. Logs as he is called by his students, is gifted at getting teens to unburden themselves and speak honestly. Chief among his admirers is Paulie Bomb, whose unbridled honesty has cost him his relationship with his girlfriend, Hannah. When quiet, unassuming Mary Wells (called the "Virgin Mary" by other students due to her outwardly prudish behavior) goes missing, Period 8 must grapple with the fact that their safe space has been compromised. Issues centered on trust, forgiveness, extreme bullying, disturbing parenting, and reputations are prevalent throughout the story. Crutcher captures teen speak in a natural and realistic manner. Although the narrative begins at a deliberate pace, the drama over Mary's disappearance and incidents in the final quarter of the story ratchet up the intensity. Some sexuality and rough language are present, but it is never gratuitous or excessive. Mr. Logs is a positive portrayal of an involved teacher; he is dedicated to his students and genuinely concerned about them. However, his personal contacts with several students outside of school might, in real life, cause some concern among hypervigilant administrators and parents. Crutcher keeps readers guessing as to who is behind Mary's disappearance, and the portrayal of the psychopath is truly chilling. A must-have where the author's novels or psychological thrillers are popular.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Suspense, heartbreak, a healthy dose of athletics--this novel has everything that Crutcher's longtime fans have come to expect, and more. When distance swimmer Paul "Paulie Bomb" Baum confesses to his girlfriend that he's cheated on her, he turns to his mentor for advice. During lunch period, Mr. Logsdon--Logs--runs an open classroom where students can freely air their feelings and opinions. Paulie and Hannah's breakup takes a back seat to the disappearance of straight-A student and Period 8 regular Mary Wells, aka the Virgin Mary. Meanwhile, semi-nemesis Arney seems a lot more manipulative than Paulie would have expected from the student body president, especially when he worms his way into Hannah's good graces. With his signature straightforward storytelling, economy of language and credible teen voices, the author stretches into new territory here, exploring the emotional toll being coerced into sex against their wills takes on boys as well as girls. While at times plot elements seem disconnected against a backdrop of a wide array of characters and motivations, there's a lot here that will appeal to teens, including the way that Logs, nearing retirement, plays a little fast and loose with confidential information. Fast-paced intrigue keeps the reader hanging on as Paulie pieces together clues to the discomfiting truth behind the strange, shadowy behavior of people he trusted. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years


What People are saying about this

Laurie Halse Anderson
“Period 8 is the best of Crutcher: warmth, humor, and spot-on teen reality, but coupled with terrifying intensity and a shocking ending.”

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.

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Period 8 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
BethFehlbaum More than 1 year ago
Chris Crutcher proves once again why he is my hero. PERIOD.8, his latest, tackles real-world issues without preaching and kept me breathless from the first page. I found PERIOD.8 more suspenseful than any of Chris' other YA books-- and I've read and own them all. I'm a picky reader. I put down a lot more YA fiction than I read from cover-to-cover. Boredom, predictable plotting, and clunky dialogue cause me to set aside most books after the first few chapters, so for me to finish a book and write a review for it says that it was an AMAZING journey, and that I lost myself in the story. What more can a reader ask for? I loved the relationship between Paulie Baum and his teacher, "Logs". I loved the authentic dialogue and humor; the lessons Logs teaches his students and the weariness that I, as a long-time educator, know myself. I could "hear" the characters talking in my mind and I laughed aloud a few times. I read PERIOD.8 in two days; would have finished it sooner than that if I had my way. I read it until I couldn't see last night, and getting back to the book was the first thing on my mind this morning. YOU: reading this review: PICK UP PERIOD.8 TODAY. I'll go ahead and say this now: YOU ARE WELCOME for this recommendation.
romancemistress More than 1 year ago
I've loved every Chris Crutcher book I've read since I started reading him about 15 years ago in order to have some books to recommend to my teen nephews...and got hooked on them myself and have been recommending them ever since! Using his experience as a therapist, Crutcher brings a realism to his books that's not always evident in Teen fiction, and reality is at the core of all his stories. Paulie is the kind of guy you'd want your daughter to date: no drugs, no acohol, a seriously dedicated athlete, a loyal friend, a great son to his nearly always separated parents, and he tells the truth to a fault. That's why he tells his girlfriend when he slips and, this is not a spoiler as it happens within the first few pages of the book. Paulie's afraid he's inherited his father's cheating gene so when he cheats, he 'fesses up immediately, and Hannah, a strong girl, dumps him. But there were extenuating circumstances, and that lies at the heart of the story. This book goes deep into decidedly dark territory,but fans of Crutcher will expect that and follow him anywhere. More adults should read his work to see what's really going on in their kids' high schools...but then we'd have a sudden rash of homeschooling! Crutcher is a great find for people who want books for guy readers, but he always has strong teen females, too, so both sexes can enjoy. His work should be in every high school counselor's office as recommends because he delves into so many problems that teens face.
Skwarcan99 More than 1 year ago
I am not an avid reader and I am very picky on what I do read, but this book was different. This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way, from page 1 to the end. Chris Crutcher does a great job of applying real life fears to this book. The characters seem so real, as if they are actual people you could meet. The only bad thing I thought about this book was that when it got slow it really got slow, at these points, even though there were few, the book seemed to drag on just a little; but none the less it speed up fast. This book is great for those who don’t like to read because of the slow parts in books, or for people who want a fast read. I would rate this book a solid 5 on a scale of 1-5. 
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Readingjunky More than 1 year ago
Teacher Bruce Logsdon is about to complete his last year of teaching. He's one of those special teachers who just seem to connect with kids in a way that goes beyond the classroom. Logs, as he is known to his students, welcomes kids to join him in his classroom for Period 8. Having lunch in Logs room means not just eating but also opening up in discussions about whatever is on anyone's mind. Paulie Baum has another connection with Logs besides P-8. Both are dedicated swimmers and workout year round. Some say their dedication borders on insanity when the two are seen swimming in the local lake on days when the temperature barely hits forty degrees. Paulie respects Logs and brings his problems to this trusted teacher. His recent breakup with Hannah has been a current topic of discussion. It involves another girl who is mysteriously absent from Period 8 causing both Logs and the other students to suspect something strange. It is common knowledge that the girl's father is famous for his strict rules and often unreasonable behavior where his daughter is concerned. Paulie is hoping Logs can help them shred some light on her unexplained disappearance. Although the students have known each other and shared Period 8 for all their years in high school, they are discovering they don't know each other as well as they thought. Crutcher grabs the attention of readers with intense character relationships and a quick moving plot. The ever-changing social fabric of high school mixes with the mystery of a missing student to make this a real page turner.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Period 8 by Chris Crutcher Publisher: Harper Collins Publication Date: March 26, 2013 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC provided by the publisher from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): In this full-length novel from Chris Crutcher, his first since the best-selling Deadline, the ultimate bully and the ultimate good guy tangle during Period 8. Paul "the Bomb" Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was something he learned at Sunday School. But telling the truth can cause problems, and not minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately) and his other classmates don't know is that the ultimate bully, the ultimate liar, is in their midst.  Terrifying, thought-provoking, and original, this novel combines all the qualities of a great thriller with the controversy, ethics, and raw emotion of a classic Crutcher story. What I Liked: I could immediately tell from the flowing style of writing of this book that this author is very experienced in writing, and can spin a tale precisely how he wanted it to be spun. I loved how this book was crafted, in terms of the plot, characters, definitely the descriptive scenes and dialogue. Mr. Crutcher did an excellent job with this book's overall structure. The plot itself was not boring. This book is considered a thriller, I believe, and as it started to pick up, I could see how it would be labeled as a thriller. "The ultimate bully" is someone that readers can easily pick out, but it is what the person is doing that is difficult to decipher. The end of the book, the last, say, 25%, went by very quickly, as there was a plethora of action and points that needed to be resolved. Paulie is a fabulous character. This book is predominately told him from point-of-view, in third person limited to him. We do get to see flashes of other people's points-of-view, especially as readers learn more about the hidden secrets of "the ultimate bully". He is a likable hero, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I totally felt bad for him, because of the repercussions of his actions in the beginning of the book. Then I would catch myself, and remind myself that I would never want anyone to do that to me. But still! I really like Paulie. The supporting characters of Hannah, Justin, and Mr. Logs add excellent dimension to this book. Mr. Logs is the "Period 8" teacher, and he is an interesting character. He is the "mentor" archetype, and he is a constant, ever-present character that plays a pivotal role in this book. He's, um, very strange, but I can't see how the book would be anything without him. Hannah and Justin - they are not as dynamic in their role, but their parts in this story are pretty big as well.  I'll say that once I got into this book, I enjoyed it. The ending is pretty good, and it definitely leaves room for more books. I have no idea if this book is a standalone or part of a series. What I Did Not Like: There were several significant things that I did not enjoy. First, this book was slightly boring. Okay, a good amount of boring. I said earlier that the plot was not boring. That's true - the sequence of events were actually really interesting. But the transitioning between events, or just waiting for the events, was terribly boring. The opening 25%, and possibly more, was so hard to read. I found myself unwilling to keep reading. The beginning is confusing, and hard to get into and enjoy.  It wasn't until about 40% that the plot really moved. The previous part of the book was informational, and all about educating the reader on what Period 8 was, what Paulie did, who each character was. Really, it was a little extensive, and excessive. All of that information was not need, and this made the beginning very slow. I can understand why people did not finish this book, because you need to get past about 40% of this book to really get to the interesting part of the book. Remember when I mentioned that Mr. Logs was strange? Yes, he is really weird. I mean, which teacher lets his female student come talk to him at midnight? Don't get me wrong, nothing of that nature happened, but do you understand the implications? Mr. Logs is pretty old! He's like, in his sixties, I believe? Which makes it even weirder that he and Paulie often go swimming together. Again, nothing of that nature is going on, but I do not know any teacher that would do anything like that with his current (or former) students. I'm going to be honest: I was confused at several points of this book. And I was confused about major things, like what "the ultimate bully" was doing. Or what Mary Wells was doing. Of course, as readers, I don't think we were supposed to understand everything until the end. But here's the thing: even the end doesn't quite resolve everything. I was still confused at the end! From what I did understand, some aspects were wrapped up, and some characters got their "happy endings". But other major points were not resolved, or at least explained a little. Is this an opening for a sequel? Maybe. But I really think the author should have explained more at the end of the book, instead of spending so much space with the beginning. Would I Recommend It: I enjoyed this book, but it definitely is NOT for everyone. It's a good mystery one, but I have a feeling that many people won't be happy with the slow beginning and confusing end. Rating: 3 stars. I would definitely read the sequel of this book, if there is one. The open, non-resolved ending intrigued me, so I would interested in any follow-ups.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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