Ten Thousand Saints

( 54 )

Overview

In the roiling, electrified streets of New York City in the 1980s, Eliza, Jude, and Johnny each show up wanting a place to hide—from everything that has gone wrong, big and small, in their short lives. These three, thrown together by their parents’ mistakes and their own, and by the accidental death of a teenage boy, find their regrets transformed into a single, covert mission. Possibility shines from every neglected, graffitied surface. Possibility rings in the hardcore music and seething energy of the city’s ...

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Overview

In the roiling, electrified streets of New York City in the 1980s, Eliza, Jude, and Johnny each show up wanting a place to hide—from everything that has gone wrong, big and small, in their short lives. These three, thrown together by their parents’ mistakes and their own, and by the accidental death of a teenage boy, find their regrets transformed into a single, covert mission. Possibility shines from every neglected, graffitied surface. Possibility rings in the hardcore music and seething energy of the city’s underground scene. But as they pursue the intoxicating promise of redemption and new life, their secret threatens to crush their alliance with its impossibly heavy burden.

One of the New York Times Book Review's Top 10 Books of 2011

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  • Ten Thousand Saints
    Ten Thousand Saints  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Henderson debuts with a coming-of-age story set in the 1980s that departs from the genre's familiar tropes to find a panoramic view of how the imperfect escape from our parents' mistakes makes (equally imperfect) adults of us. Jude Keffy-Horn and Teddy McNicholas are drug-addled adolescents stuck in suburban Vermont and dreaming of an escape to New York City. But after Teddy dies of an overdose, Jude makes good on their dream and forms a de facto family with Teddy's straight-edge brother, Johnny; Jude's estranged pot-farmer father, Lester; and the troubled Eliza Urbanski, who may be carrying Teddy's child. What results is an odyssey encompassing the age of CBGB, Hare Krishnas, zines, and the emergence of AIDS. Henderson is careful, amid all this youthy nostalgia, not to sideline the adults, who look upon the changing fashions with varying levels of engagement. Still, the narrative occasionally teeters into a didactic, researched tone that may put off readers to whom the milieu isn't new—but the commitment to its characters and jettisoning of hayseed-in-the-city cliché distinguish a nervy voice adept at etching the outlines of a generation, its prejudices and pandemics, and the idols killed along the way. (June)
Booklist
“The magic of Henderson’s debut lies in the way she so completely captures the experience of coming-of-age in the turbulent and exciting era that was the 1980s.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Ten Thousand Saints is a rousing novel that transcends any time or place…Henderson has penned a paean to youth’s “us against the world” bravado and its attendant triumphs, follies and quixotic dreams…this is a story that will entertain by the pool and keep a reader coming back for more.”
New York Post
“Henderson brings 1908s East Village New York to vivid life in her ambitious first novel, a powerful, coming-of-age-story.”
Shelf Awareness
“Henderson has certainly captured the dynamic of a generation of kids trying to overcome the legacy of whacked-out parents, terminal permissiveness and no rudder… Evoking the East Village scene in the 1980s, this debut novel captures the coming-of-age experience.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“…Henderson at her best has a deep understanding for the way the world feels brand-new and hopeful in a teen’s eyes. . . Ten Thousand Saints is easy to admire for its close observation and the energy of its prose…”
L Magazine
“Henderson writes powerfully about drugs and the things that take their place…Ten Thousand Saints is rich and sound.”
NewsOK.com
“…a story of adoption, teen pregnancy, drugs, punk rock and the efforts of young and old to understand each other in the late 20th century.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“[Henderson] re-creat[es] with sharp detail the look, sounds and feel of [late 80s New York City] subculture. Her story is a timeless one of heartbreak and salvation told in precise language, period vernacular and consistent rhythm that make this long novel unfold swiftly.”
Anniston Star
“Ten Thousand Saints is told uniquely without the impassioned and easily derailed voice of a rock enthusiast. Instead, Henderson carefully lays out the action with the professionalism of a true historian/storyteller well beyond her years in ability.”
Poets & Writers
“[Eleanor Henderson] has talent to spare…[a] tremendously good book.”
BookPage
“Vibrant…a set of achingly real characters... whom she writes about with care and affection, digging below rough exteriors to find the source of their anger, frustration, boredom and indifference.... [Henderson] proves herself at the same time a deft and promising storyteller.”
New Yorker
“Henderson…paints a compelling portrait of Generation Xers whom fiercely reject their parents’ values of free love…”
New York Daily News
“Henderson tells a personal tale that fits perfectly with the city of the era …What Henderson makes real is the truth of NYC in the pre-millennium...”
Library Journal
By the end of the fourth sentence of this debut novel, the reader knows that on December 31, 1987, 15-year-old Teddy will be dead. The Vermont teen, best friend to Jude, 16, dies of a drug overdose that nearly kills Jude as well—but not before Teddy's one glorious sexual encounter impregnates worldly wise Eliza, daughter of Jude's father's New York City girlfriend. The three teens, the children of mothers and fathers who are all over the parenting map (former and current potheads; an alcoholic; one deprived of contact by his ex; a rich, powerful, and controlling Manhattanite; and a sensible Earth-Mother glassblower), break your heart with their awkward, angry, irresponsible stumbling. And yet Jude, shaken by Teddy's death, and Eliza, determined to give birth to her baby, move in unexpected directions, led by Teddy's half-brother Johnny, a tattoo artist and musician associated with a cutting-edge group called straight edge that worships punk while demonizing drugs. Johnny must battle his own demons while taking on Jude's and Eliza's. VERDICT Henderson's powerful, surprising look at lost teens trying to course-correct with the violence-tinged straight-edge culture captivates via its authentic reassurance that adolescence is an often reckless ride to adulthood. [See Prepub Alert, 11/29/10.]—Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI
Kirkus Reviews

Screwed-up parents beget screwed-up kids. So it's no surprise that an ill-omened teen pregnancy is the centerpiece of this bold debut, a heady witches' brew.

Teddy and Jude, best friends in their mid-teens, have big problems. Jude was adopted at birth, possibly suffering from fetal-alcohol effects. His adoptive parents, Les and Harriet, are feckless potheads, Les growing pot, Harriet making drug paraphernalia. When Jude turns nine, Harriet evicts Les for cheating on her; Jude hasn't seen him since. As for Teddy, his Indian father is supposedly dead; his white mother, a sloppy drunk, has just split. The boys skateboard through their Vermont town, getting high and shoplifting at will. On this last day of 1987, they have a date with Eliza, a total stranger but the daughter of Les' girlfriend. At 15, she's already a cokehead and sexually promiscuous. They gatecrash a party. Eliza gives Teddy cocaine before they have sex in a bathroom and she returns to New York. Back out in the cold, Jude's idea that they inhale Freon is a step too far; he almost dies and Teddy does die, but he will haunt the novel, for he has made Eliza pregnant. All this could be depressing, but it's not, thanks to the barbed language and fast pacing. And Henderson's just getting started. Les shows up to remove Jude to Alphabet City, the ravaged Manhattan neighborhood where he lives. A near neighbor is Teddy's 18-year-old half brother Johnny, whose role becomes increasingly prominent. Johnny is a tattoo artist and musician, as well as a straight-edge hardcore punk (no booze, no drugs). Although a closeted gay, he chivalrously offers to marry Eliza and claim paternity to thwart Eliza's mother, who's pushing for adoption. This is where Henderson loses the thread, wobbling uncertainly between Jude, Johnny and Eliza while doing double duty as a counterculture guide to the straight-edge scene. Context overwhelms characters, the unwieldy cast now including Johnny's AIDS-stricken lover and Teddy's Indian father.

Henderson displays a powerful moral imagination; all that's missing is discipline.

Stacey D'Erasmo
The ambition of Ten Thousand Saints, Eleanor Henderson's debut novel about a group of unambitious lost souls, is beautiful. In nearly 400 pages, Henderson does not hold back once: she writes the hell out of every moment, every scene, every perspective, every fleeting impression, every impulse and desire and bit of emotional detritus. She is never ironic or underwhelmed; her preferred mode is fierce, devoted and elegiac.
—The New York Times
Adam Langer
Henderson proves herself to be an expert ethnographer; her detail work is phenomenal…But her characterizations demonstrate Henderson’s greatest skill. Even the ones who receive comparatively little stage time are always precisely defined…Not all of these characters are particularly appealing, but they’re memorable, and Henderson’s affection for them is palpable.
—The Washington Post
O magazine
“An irresistibly rich and engrossing novel…poignant, complex…Henderson brilliantly evokes the gritty energy of New York City in the ‘80s, and the violent euphoria of the music scene. The hard-edged settings highlight the touching vulnerability of young characters.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“[The] reader smells the sweat, blood, urine, beer; hears the crowds screaming; feels herself at times flung into the mosh pit - Henderson shepherds her characters with blatant affection…raucous, wounded, sweet, spasmodically desperate, [Saints] comes to feel like a modern, drug-and-rock-riddled version of Peter Pan…”
The Onion AV Club
“Proudly unsentimental…Henderson zeroes in on the essentially malleable nature of these teenagers without squashing them into an indistinguishable mass…, Henderson parcels out its history in tantalizing images and snatches of conversations, holding back where her protagonists might themselves miss the significance of their surroundings.”
Los Angeles Times
“Ten Thousand Saints is a whirling dervish of a first novel—a planet, a universe, a trip. As wild as that may sound, wonder of wonders, the book is also carefully and lovingly created… [Henderson] writes with great compassion but does not flinch”
Washington Post
“[An] empathetic novel of wayward youth and their wayward parents…Henderson proves herself to be an expert ethnographer; her detail work is phenomenal.…characterizations demonstrate Henderson’s greatest skill. Even the ones who receive comparatively little stage time are always precisely defined… Henderson’s affection for [the characters] is palpable.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Absorbing…Tone is just one element Henderson balances well.... She also packs her coming-of-age story with grit and a generational wallop…. In this naturalistic and assured novel, Henderson crafts a satisfying structure…psychological astuteness is a key pleasure of Ten Thousand Saints.”
New York Magazine Approval Matrix
“Highbrow/Brilliant: All the all-star sentences in Eleanor Henderson’s punk-rock-teen novel Ten Thousand Saints.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Rarely has a coming-of-age novel captured a time and place-here the late 1980s on Manhattan’s Lower East Side-with such perfect pitch. Grade: A”
Dallas Morning News
“Countless coming-of-age novels have been written. When a truly exceptional story of this nature does come along, it’s a significant literary event… Ten Thousand Saints is memorable for its boldness and ambition, its empathetic prose, and the troubled souls who discover unlikely forms of redemption.”
New Yorker Book Bench Blog
“In Ten Thousand Saints, Eleanor Henderson’s début novel, the ghosts of St. Marks are brought back to life…Henderson’s book reads in part like an elegy: she follows her characters from 1987 to 2006, long enough to capture the end of the era and its strange aftermath.”
The Millions
“Henderson’s novel recalls all the sweat and fury of coming of age. . . It’s also a beautifully rendered study of devotion-to a cause, a religion, a scene, and one’s own family-and all the conflict and sacrifice that devotion entails.”
Vogue
“[A] rare debut that, with a flinty kind of nostalgia, invokes both the gods and demons of a generation.”
Boston Globe
“Henderson’s debut novel bursts out of the gate with all of the drive and sensory assault of the punk music that infuses it…. It’s an auspicious debut, and gives us reason to hope that Henderson will mature as satisfyingly as her subjects do.”
New Yorker Blog
“In Ten Thousand Saints, Eleanor Henderson’s début novel, the ghosts of St. Marks are brought back to life…Henderson’s book reads in part like an elegy: she follows her characters from 1987 to 2006, long enough to capture the end of the era and its strange aftermath.”
The Onion A.V. Club
“Proudly unsentimental…Henderson zeroes in on the essentially malleable nature of these teenagers without squashing them into an indistinguishable mass…, Henderson parcels out its history in tantalizing images and snatches of conversations, holding back where her protagonists might themselves miss the significance of their surroundings.”
NPR.org
“[Henderson] has a perfect ear for conversation between siblings; the way a lazy spat can turn into a grudging moment of closeness. And the euphoria of the straight edge movement that Jude and Johnny embrace suffuses the novel with a reckless, glib joy…a bittersweet, lovely book.”
New York Times Book Review
“One of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2011…[A] raucous first novel”
O Magazine
"An irresistibly rich and engrossing novel…poignant, complex…Henderson brilliantly evokes the gritty energy of New York City in the ‘80s, and the violent euphoria of the music scene. The hard-edged settings highlight the touching vulnerability of young characters."
Arthur Phillips
“TEN THOUSAND SAINTS is funny, touching, artistic, surprising, lovely, eye-opening, and very, very wise.”
Stacy D'Erasmo
“Henderson does not hold back once: she writes the hell out of every moment, every scene, every perspective, every fleeting impression, every impulse and desire.... She is never ironic or underwhelmed; her preferred mode is fierce, devoted and elegiac.”
Writers' Best Books of 2011 - The Daily Beast/Newsweek
"The best and most lyrically written coming-of-age novel of the year."
Approval Matrix - New York Magazine
"Highbrow/Brilliant: All the all-star sentences in Eleanor Henderson’s punk-rock-teen novel Ten Thousand Saints."
Dean Wareham
“I loved TEN THOUSAND SAINTS; again and again I was stopped cold by beautiful chapter-ending sentences. I remember this Manhattan, the Sunday matinees at CB’s, the rage over Yuppies colonizing the East Village. ”
Ann Patchett
“Eleanor Henderson is in possession of an enormous talent which she has matched up with skill, ambition, and a fierce imagination. The resulting novel, TEN THOUSAND SAINTS, is the best thing I’ve read in a long time. “
The Daily Beast/Newsweek Writers' Best Books of 2011
“The best and most lyrically written coming-of-age novel of the year.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062021021
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/7/2011
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,442,059
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Eleanor Henderson

Eleanor Henderson earned her MFA from the University of Virginia in 2005. An assistant professor at Ithaca College, she lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband and two sons.

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Read an Excerpt

Ten Thousand Saints


By Eleanor Henderson

Ecco

Copyright © 2012 Eleanor Henderson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780062021212


Chapter One

Is it dreamed?" Jude asked Teddy. "Or dreamt?"
Beneath the stadium seats of the football field, on the last
morning of 1987 and the last morning of Teddy's life, the
two boys lay side by side, a pair of snow angels bundled in
thrift store parkas. If you were to spy them from above, between the
slats of the bleachers - or smoking behind the school gym, or sliding
their skateboards down the stone wall by the lake - you might
confuse one for the other. But Teddy was the dark haired one, Jude
the redhead. Teddy wore opalescent, fat-tongued Air Jordans, both
toes bandaged with duct tape, and dangling from a cord around his
neck, a New York City subway token, like a golden quarter. Jude
was the one in Converse high-tops, the stars Magic Markered into
pentagrams, and he wore his red hair in a devil lock—short in the
back and long in the front, in a fin that sliced between his eyes to
his chin. Unless you'd heard of the Misfits, not the Marilyn Monroe
movie but the horror-rock/glam-punk band, and if you were living
in Lintonburg, Vermont, in 1987, you probably hadn't, you'd never
seen anything like it.
"Either," said Teddy.
They were celebrating Jude's sixteenth birthday with the dregs
of last night's bowl. Jude leaned over and tapped the crushed soda
can against Teddy's elbow, and Teddy sat up to take his turn. His
eyes were glassy, and a maple leaf, brittle and threadbare from its
months spent under the snow, clung to his hair. Since Jude had
known him Teddy had worn an immense pair of bronze frames with
lenses as thick as windowpanes and, for good measure, a second bar
across the top. But last week Teddy had spent all his savings on a
pair of contact lenses, and now Jude thought he looked mole-eyed
and barefaced, exposed, as Jude's father had the time he'd made the
mistake of shaving his beard.
With one hand Teddy balanced the bud on the indentation of
the can, over the perforations Jude had made with a paper clip, lit
it with the other, and like a player of some barnyard instrument, he
put his lips to the mouth of the can and inhaled. Across his face,
across the shadowed expanse of snow stubbled grass, bars of sunlight
brightened and then paled. "It's done," he announced and
tossed the can aside.
Bodies had begun to fill the grandstand above, galoshes and
duck boots filing cautiously down the rows, families of anoraks
eclipsing the meager sun. Jude could hear the patter of their voices,
the faraway din of a sound system testing, testing, the players cleating
through the grass, praying away the snow. Standing on his
wobbly legs, Jude examined their cave. They were fenced in on all
sides - the seats overhead, the football field in front, a concrete wall
behind them. Above the wall, however, was a person-size perimeter
of open space, through which Teddy and Jude had climbed not
long before, first launching their skateboards in ahead of them, then
scaling the scaffoolding on the outside, then tumbling over the wall,
catlike, ten feet into the dirt. They'd done it twenty times before, but
never while people were in the stadium - they'd managed to abstain
from their town's tepid faith in its Division III college football team;
they abstained from all things football, and all things college. They
hadn't expected there to be a game on New Year's Eve.
Now Jude paced under the seats and stopped five or six rows
from the front. Above him, hanging from the edge of one of the
seats, was a pair of blue-jeaned legs. A girl. Jude could see the dirty
heels of her tennis shoes, but not much else. He reached up, the
frozen fingers through his fingerless gloves inches away from her
foot, but instead of enclosing them around the delicate bones of her
ankle, he lifted the yellow umbrella at her feet. He slid it without a
sound across the concrete and down into his arms.
"What are you doing?" whispered Teddy, suddenly at Jude's
elbow. "Why are we stealing an umbrella?"
Jude sprung it open and looked it over. "It's not the umbrella
we're stealing," he whispered back, closing it. Walking into the
shadows a few rows back, he held it over his head, curved handle
up, like a hook. In the bleachers above, there were purses between
feet, saving seats, unguarded, alone, and inside, wallets fat with cash.
Teddy and Jude had no money and no pot and, since this morning,
nothing to smoke it out of but an empty can of Orange Slice.
Last night they'd shared a jug of Carlo Rossi and the pot they'd
found in the glove box of Teddy's mom's car, while they listened
to Metallica's first album, Kill 'Em All, which skipped, and to Teddy's
mom, Queen Bea, who had her own stash of booze, getting
sick in the bathroom, retch, flush, retch, flush. Around midnight,
they'd taken what was left of the pot and skated to Jude's to get
some sleep, but in their daze had left Jude's bong behind. When
they returned to Teddy's in the morning (this was the rhythm of
their days, three rights and a left to Teddy's, a right and three lefts
to Jude's), the bong - the color changing Pyrex bong Jude's mother
had given Jude that morning as an early birthday gift—was gone. So
were Queen Bea's clothes, her car, her toothbrush, her sheets. Jude
and Teddy wandered the house, flipping switches. The lights didn't
work; nothing hummed or blinked. The house was frozen with an
unnatural stillness. Jude, shivering, found a candle and lit it. When
Teddy opened the liquor cabinet, it was also empty—this was the
final, irrefutable clue—except for a bottle of Liquid Plumerand a film
of dust, in which Teddy wrote with a finger, fuck.
Beatrice McNicholas had run away a few times before. She'd go
out for a six pack and come home a week later, with a new haircut
and old promises. (She was no nester or nurturer; she was Queen
Bea for her royal size.) But she'd never taken her liquor with her, or
anything of Teddy and Jude's.
The boys had stolen enough from her over the years to call it
even. Five dollar bills, maybe tens, that Queen Bea would be too
drunk to miss in the morning, liquor, cigarettes. She was the kind
of unsystematic drunk whose hiding places changed routinely but
remained routinely unimaginative - ten minutes of hunting through
closets and drawers (she cleaned other people's houses, but her own
was a sty) could almost always turn up something. Pot was more
difficult to find at Jude's house - his mom's hippie habits were somewhat
reformed, and though she condoned Jude's experimentation
(an appreciation for a good bong was just about all Harriet and Jude
had in common), occasional flashes of parental guilt drove her to
hide her contraband in snug and impenetrable places that recalled
Russian nesting dolls. In Harriet's studio, Jude had once found a
Ziploc of pot inside a bag of Ricola cough drops inside a jumbo box
of tampons inside a toolbox. While Queen Bea seemed only mildly
aware that teenagers lived in her midst, sweeping them off her porch
like stray cats, Harriet had a sharp eye, a peripheral third lens in her
bifocals that was always ready to probe the threat of fast fingered
boys. So Jude and Teddy stole what was around: a roll of quarters
from her dresser, the box of chocolates Jude's sister, Prudence,
had given her for Mother's Day. They took more pleasure in what
they stole out in the world: magazines and beer from Shop Smart
(Shop Fart), video game cartridges from Sears (Queers), and
cassettes from the Record Room, where Kram O'Connor and Clarence
Delph worked. And half the items in Jude's possession - clothes,
records, homework - were stolen, without discretion, from Teddy.
But this bold-faced thievery beneath the bleachers embarrassed
Teddy. It was so obvious, so doomed to failure. Sometimes Teddy
thought that was the prize Jude wanted - not the money or the beer
or the cigarettes but the confrontation, the pleasure of testing the
limits. Jude was standing on tiptoe, umbrella still raised like a torch,
eyeing the spilled contents of a lady's bag. His tongue, molluscan
and veined with blue, was wedged in concentration in the cleft
under his nose.
"Hey," said someone.
Teddy tried to stand very still.
A pair of eyes, upside-down, was framed between the seats above
them. It took Teddy a few seconds to grasp their orientation - the
girl was leaning over, her head draped over the ledge. "What are you
doing?" she said.
Jude smiled up at her. "You dropped your umbrella."
"No, I didn't." The girl had her hands cupped around her eyes
now, staring down into the dark. No one else seemed to notice.
"It fell," Jude insisted, hoisting the umbrella up to the girl, his
arm outstretched, letting it tickle one of her fingers.
"Just give it back," said Teddy. It was the way Jude always made
him feel—tangled up in some stupid, trivial danger. Teddy closed
his eyes. He didn't have time to mess around; his mother was gone.
He needed money, more money than Jude could pickpocket with
an umbrella. His body clenched with his last memory of her - the
acrid, scotch-y stink of her vomit through the bathroom door; the
blathering hiccups of her sobs. Had she been crying because she
was leaving, or just because she was wasted?
Then the umbrella, the pointy part, speared him in the gut.
"Ow, man." Teddy opened his eyes.
"You were supposed to catch it," said Jude.
Teddy looked up into the bleachers. The girl was gone. But
a moment later, a pair of blue-jeaned legs appeared over the wall
behind them.
They watched as the girl jumped from the ledge, her jacket parachuting
as she plummeted. She landed feet first and fell forward to
catch her balance, then strutted a slow motion, runway strut in their
direction. She stopped a car length away and stood with her hands
on her hips, inspecting them. Her eyes were shining with disdain.
If you were a girl, Jude Keffy-Horn was a person you looked at,
hard, and then didn't look at again. His blue eyes, set wide apart,
watched the world from under hooded lids, weighed down by
distrust, THC, and a deep, hormonal languor. A passing stranger
would not have guessed them to be the eyes of a hyperactive teenager
with attention deficit disorder, but his mouth, which rarely rested,
betrayed him. He was thin in the lip, fairly broad in the forehead, tall
and flat in the space between mouth and upturned nose, the whole
plane of his face scattered with freckles usurped daily by a lavender
brand of acne. He wore not one but two retainers. He wasn't tall,
but he was built like a tall person, with skinny arms and legs and big
knees and elbows that knocked around when he walked. He wasn't
bad looking. He was good looking enough. He was the kid whose
name you knew only because the teacher kept calling it. Jude. Jude.
Mr. Keffy-Horn, is that a cigarette you're rolling?
Teddy shared Jude's uniform, his half swallowed smirk, but due
to the blood of his Indian father (Queen Bea was purebred white
trash), his hair was the blue-black of comic book villains, his
complexion as dark and smooth as a brown eggshell. By the population
of Ira Allen High School he was rumored halfheartedly to be Jewish,
Arab, Mexican, Greek, and most often, simply "Spanish." When
Jude had asked, Teddy had told him "Indian," then quipped, nearly
indiscernibly, for he was a mumbler, "Gandhi, not Geronimo." With
everyone else, though, he preferred to allow his identity to flourish in
the shadowed domain of myth. Teddy's eyelashes were long, like the
bristles of a paintbrush; through his right eyebrow was an ashen scar
from the time he'd spilled off his skateboard at age ten. Then his face
had been cherubic; now, at fifteen, it had sloughed off the baby fat
and gone angular as a paper airplane. He had a delicate frame; he had
an Adam's apple like a brass knuckle; he had things up the sleeve of
that too big coat - a Chinese star, the wire of a Walkman, a cigarette
for after class, which he was always more careful than Jude to conceal.
What's that kid up to?
That was the way the girl was looking at both of them now, under
the bleachers. "What are you people doing down here?"
Jude stabbed the umbrella into the ground. "Hanging out."
"Are you smoking marijuana?"
"You can't smell it," Jude said. "We're out in the open."
"Can I have my umbrella, please?"
"Why? It's not raining."
"It's supposed to snow, for your information."
"Oh, for my information, okay. It's a snow umbrella." Now he
was pretending that the umbrella was a gun. He held it cocked at his
hip, the metal tip against his cheek, ready to shoot around a corner.
"Jude," Teddy said. "Over here."
He clapped his hands, and Jude obediently, joyfully tossed him
the umbrella.
"Motherfucking monkey in the middle!" said Jude.
Teddy walked three paces toward the girl, head down, and
returned it to her.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson Copyright © 2012 by Eleanor Henderson. Excerpted by permission of Ecco. 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.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2011

    very slow...

    The first 100 pages were just a little too bland for me to get into. I usually stop reading a book, by page 75, if it can't catch my attention. I don't know if this is because I came out of the punk scene and had experiences that I could compare this book to. My husband was one of the people in the acknowledgement section, so he really wanted me to see what I thought of this (I also read about a book a day, so it made sense.) I just had a real heard time trying to relate to the characters or to even understand where the story line was going. The book eventually picks up, but I felt like I was just trying to get through it, since I had time already invested into it. I wish the author much luck with future projects! And I do mean it, it is not sarcastic in any way...

    14 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2011

    Something Different

    When I first started reading this book, I didn't think I would get through it because I didn't relate to the types of kids the story focussed on. I was never into weed. Had never heard of Straightedge. The whole lifestyle was foreign to me. That said--if you are someone like me, I highly suggest you persist with the story. I was amazed how I came to relate to so many of the characters, actually care about them. This was a well written story and so far from the "same old thing." I will look for more from this writer.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    I stayed up all night reading this novel. Wonderful attention to detail

    This author is highly talented. It is wonderful to read a book you don't want to put down.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2012

    You Can't Tell A Book..

    You can not tell a book by its cover is so true here. The cover is so much more interesting than this book and does not reflect the story or characters at all. I had high hopes for this one, but found the plot, characters and setting to be dismall and gloomy.
    Save your money.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Not Too Bad

    I really liked this book; however character building gets a little old. Could have been a little shorter. Not too sure about the ending.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    B-O-R-I-N-G...slow up to page 81, when I stopped reading it

    Watching pebbles drop in a pond is more exciting than this book! Save your money and look for something else.

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Fabulous!

    This book is eloquently written about loss and redemption in the lives of misfit, young adults who desperately want to find their place in society. The author hits on several issues- drug abuse, teen pregnancy, AIDS, and homosexuality.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2012

    Read the sample

    I have only read the sample. i am 55 and can very much relate to the times. i am looking forward to a new experience.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2012

    Great straight edge coming of age story,

    Great book, i was a little miffed at the ending otherwise it would have received five stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2012

    A lot of people come of age in this novel, not just the teenager

    A lot of people come of age in this novel, not just the teenagers at the center of the story. I enjoyed reading about worlds I did not know-- I don't even know if the names of these hard edge music groups were real-- but I felt as though I could smell and hear the environments. The characters were fully drawn and sympathetic, even when they were irritating (like your own teenagers). I love these NookBook Daily Finds and Free Fridays-- I end up reading a lot of books I would not have otherwise discovered.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    A pretty good read.

    You really feel for each character in this book. <3

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    1 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2014

    One saint would have been sufficient

    In this mish mosh trouble with n y is no alleys so all the garbage is out front recycle

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Omg

    I can't wait for the movie to come out next year with Asa Butterfield!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Exceptional: a literary novel that doesn't try to reinvent the g

    Exceptional: a literary novel that doesn't try to reinvent the genre, just tells, in a beautiful narrative, a story from start to finish. And what an amazing, unexpected, surprising story, infused with details about a scene I've never understood and set, in part, against a New York City I've never seen. Brilliant, I loved it, I want more. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2012

    Engaging characters

    I agree with others that this book had a slow start, but it does pick up and the characters become very engaging. Growing up in Burlington, VT, it was fun to read about the area. I reccomend this book. It is very well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2012

    I just couldn't continue.

    I was really excited to read this book after reading the description in the nook store. However, I was extremely disgusted by the amount of drug use and after the first chapter I lost the desire to continue.

    I do see that it has the makings of a good story, but it was not at all working for me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2012

    Ten thousand saints

    Very well written,lots of drama

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    Okay book

    Easy reader but slow at some points

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Not sure

    Bit of a spoiler --
    I'm glad that this book did have a happy ending because it was a bit of work to get through. I finished it, so that says something. Like some of the other reviewers, I think my problem was that I just couldn't relate to the teens in the book. And they immediately killed my favorite character. I would rather give this book a 3 out of 6, but will err in it's favor and give it a 3. I'm not sure I would recommend it to any of my friends.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews

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