The White Mercedes

( 3 )

Overview

A chance meeting with Jenny at an Oxford party leaves seventeen-year-old Chris with hope for a summer romance - and no premonition of trouble. Busy with his job and soon in love with Jenny, whose cheerful surface belies the dark uncertainty of her past, Chris misses all the signs of danger. Before he knows it, he's caught in the sinister web of a criminal whose desire for revenge crushes all those who stand in his way.

Seventeen-year-old Chris, living and working in...

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Overview

A chance meeting with Jenny at an Oxford party leaves seventeen-year-old Chris with hope for a summer romance - and no premonition of trouble. Busy with his job and soon in love with Jenny, whose cheerful surface belies the dark uncertainty of her past, Chris misses all the signs of danger. Before he knows it, he's caught in the sinister web of a criminal whose desire for revenge crushes all those who stand in his way.

Seventeen-year-old Chris, living and working in Oxford, falls in love with an elusive girl and while searching for her discovers the devastating consequences of placing his trust in the wrong person.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a starred review, PW called this menacing tale of doomed lovers "a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy," with "evocative narrative and throat-tightening suspense"; graphic sex, moral ambiguity and a somber ending make it most suitable for mature YA readers. Ages 12-up. (July)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Better known for his YA Victorian thrillers and the first two volumes of his fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials, Pullman here brings his magic into the contemporary world. When seventeen-year-old Chris saves lovely, mysterious Jenny from the clutches of partying Oxford students he is immediately lost. Impossibly in love, Chris pursues Jenny through a world of treachery he's never conceived, a world that has no happy endings. Pullman has created a strong story of teenage passions and lost innocence. 1997 orig.
Hazel Rochman
"Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill . . ." Like Pullman's Victorian thriller "Ruby in the Smoke" (1987), this novel has a gripping opening line, both casual and sinister. Chris, 17, is a nice, innocent kid in contemporary Oxford, England. The girl, Jenny, with whom he falls madly in love, has run away from her father's sexual abuse. Jenny likes Chris; they make tender, passionate love; but then accidental circumstances separate them, and as they search and search for each other, they get caught in a web of intrigue and corruption that keeps them apart and builds inexorably to betrayal and a murderous rendezvous. The abrupt switch in point of view from Chris to other characters is jarring at first, but gradually it becomes clear that that's part of the story: things aren't what they seem, people tell stories and lies; each character sees differently. This is especially poignant after Chris and Jenny have sex: for him it's a wild and lovely experience; on the next page we discover that for her it's been clumsy and a little disappointing. Pullman's attempt to give mythic depth to his thriller is heavy-handed (complete with a demonic villain who gives Chris an apple); and as the melodrama grows, the blatant coincidences seem as much the whim of the author as the accidents of ordinary life. What will hold readers is the sense of unease beneath cozy domesticity, the chances just missed. Everything could end happily, like a romantic comedy, if only . . .
School Library Journal
Gr 11 Up—"Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm night in early June." From the first line, there is no doubt how Philip Pullman's story (Knopf, 1993) will end. Chris is a 17-year-old English boy living in Oxford, England. He works for Barry Miller, who appears to be a decent employer and loving husband and father, but hides a past that will ensnare Chris in a web of deceit, betrayal, and murder. Chris falls hard for Jenny, a homeless teen running from her past. They are forced apart by circumstances and spend much of this short novel searching for each other. When Chris finally finds Jenny again, he mistakenly believes that she and Barry are together. Chris decides to help a mysterious man in a white Mercedes locate Barry and, too late, realizes Jenny is in danger. Narrator Colin Moody does a fine job of propelling the story forward and distinguishes each character with a unique voice. A frank, sexual scene bumps this tale into the mature teen bracket. Since the novel was published nearly two decades ago, today's teens may feel its date. For example, during a critical plot point, much hangs on locating a telephone. While the story is interesting, it never quite reaches the must-read level of many of Pullman's other titles. An additional purchase for libraries serving mature teens.—Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK
School Library Journal
Gr 11 Up—"Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm night in early June." From the first line, there is no doubt how Philip Pullman's story (Knopf, 1993) will end. Chris is a 17-year-old English boy living in Oxford, England. He works for Barry Miller, who appears to be a decent employer and loving husband and father, but hides a past that will ensnare Chris in a web of deceit, betrayal, and murder. Chris falls hard for Jenny, a homeless teen running from her past. They are forced apart by circumstances and spend much of this short novel searching for each other. When Chris finally finds Jenny again, he mistakenly believes that she and Barry are together. Chris decides to help a mysterious man in a white Mercedes locate Barry and, too late, realizes Jenny is in danger. Narrator Colin Moody does a fine job of propelling the story forward and distinguishes each character with a unique voice. A frank, sexual scene bumps this tale into the mature teen bracket. Since the novel was published nearly two decades ago, today's teens may feel its date. For example, during a critical plot point, much hangs on locating a telephone. While the story is interesting, it never quite reaches the must-read level of many of Pullman's other titles. An additional purchase for libraries serving mature teens.—Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679886235
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 822,702
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.83 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip  Pullman
Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, in 1946. He has won many awards, including the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. His acclaimed trilogy, His Dark Materials, has been published in thirty-nine languages. . The Amber Spyglass, the trilogy’s astonishing finale, was the first children’s book in history to win the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. It was also nominated for the Booker Prize. When he is not writing books, Pullman enjoys drawing, woodworking, and playing the piano. He lives with his family in Oxford, England.
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    1. Hometown:
      Oxford, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 19, 1946
    2. Place of Birth:
      Norwich, England
    1. Education:
      Exeter College, Oxford University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2001

    Excellent Book

    I have read a lot of Philip Pullman's other books and I really enjoyed this one. I couldn't put it down! It's a really wonderful book with a twisting plot and it's full of adventure and lies and that stuff. Really wonderful book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2000

    ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am Philip Pullman's best fan, and love this book! It is one of my favorites, and I gave a copy to my friends who equally loved it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2010

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