4.3 172
by Jerry Spinelli

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Palmer LaRue is running out of birthdays. For as long as he can remember, he's dreaded the day he turns ten––the day he'll take his place beside all the other ten-year-old boys in town, the day he'll be a wringer. But Palmer doesn't want to be a wringer. It's one of the first things he learned about himself and it's one of the biggest things he has to

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Palmer LaRue is running out of birthdays. For as long as he can remember, he's dreaded the day he turns ten––the day he'll take his place beside all the other ten-year-old boys in town, the day he'll be a wringer. But Palmer doesn't want to be a wringer. It's one of the first things he learned about himself and it's one of the biggest things he has to hide. In Palmer's town being a wringer is an honor, a tradition passed down from father to son. Palmer can't stop himself from being a wringer just like he can't stop himself from growing one year older, just like he can't stand up to a whole town––right? Newbery Medal winner Jerry Spinelli's most powerful novel yet is a gripping tale of how one boy learns how not to be afraid.

01 Blue Spruce Award Masterlist (YA Cat.)

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Palmer is in heaven. He has reached the age of nine and the local gang members have deigned to come to his birthday party. After the "Treatment," Palmer changes and even joins the taunting of his younger neighbor Dorothy. Through it all, Palmer worries about become a Wringer. At the age of ten, boys in the town help out at the pigeon shoot by wringing the necks of the wounded birds. To make matters worse, Palmer befriends a pigeon that becomes his pet. He must keep its presence hidden from the gang and his family. Only Dorothy shares his secret. The story moves at a fast pace and the tension never lets up. Palmer's final epiphany is a welcome relief.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8When Palmer LaRue turns nine, he becomes one of the guys. Now a member of a popular gang, with the cool nickname of Snots, life is looking very good, except for one thing. He is now only a year away from becoming a wringer, one of the 10-year-old boys who break the necks of wounded birds in the town's annual pigeon shoot. Unlike his pals who can't wait for that privilege, Palmer dreads it. To make matters worse, a stray pigeon shows up at his window, and soon he is feeding and sheltering it in his room. His life becomes a balancing act of hanging out with the guys, who hate pigeons, and attending to his new pet, Nipper, and Palmer is required to go to great lengths to keep the two worlds apart. When he turns 10, and the pigeon shoot rolls around, the boy is forced to take a stand, and eventually has to rescue Nipper from being killed. Spinelli's characters are memorable, convincing, and both endearing and villainous; and they are involved in a plot that, from the first page, is riveting. The story is told in language simple enough for young readers, yet elegant enough for adults. There is humor, suspense, a bird with personality, and a moral dilemma familiar to everyone: how does one stand up for one's beliefs when they will be very unpopular? A wide audience will enjoy this thought-provoking book.Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT
Kirkus Reviews
The ghastliness of a local rite of passage gives this tale of a boy's inner battle between revulsion and his desire to fit in a whiff of Cormier—but with some belly laughs from Spinelli (The Library Card, p. 650, etc.) to lighten the load.

In the popular fund-raiser that caps the town of Waymer's annual, weeklong Family Fest, entrants gun down thousands of live pigeons, while, under the guidance of a "wringmaster," ten-year-old boys are enlisted to break the necks of birds that are only wounded. Even after winning acceptance (and a nickname, "Snots") from neighborhood bully Beans, and learning to join in the relentless harassment of his one-time friend, Dorothy Gruzik, Palmer regards his fast-approaching tenth birthday with dread. Then, like the Ancient Mariner's albatross, a pigeon appears at his bedroom window and moves in, calmly ignoring Palmer's halfhearted efforts to shoo it away. "Nipper" provides comic relief, both in its own behavior, and in Palmer's frantic attempts to conceal it from his parents and from Beans. He finds a—more or less—sympathetic ear in Dorothy, who, after some fence-mending, gives him the support and impetus he needs to make his true feelings known. She even spirits Nipper out of town as Family Fest approaches, but unknowingly leaves the pigeon where it can be captured for the shoot—and the stage is set for a dramatic rescue. A story both comic and disturbing, this is lit by Palmer's growing courage and Dorothy's surprising loyalty.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
With Reader's Guide
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.64(d)
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

He did not want to be a wringer.

This was one of the first things he had learned about himself. He could not have said exactly when he learned it, but it was very early. And more than early, it was deep inside. In the stomach, like hunger.

But different from hunger, different and worse. Because it was always there. Hunger came only sometimes, such as just before dinner or on long rides in the car. Then, quickly, it was gone the moment it was fed. But this thing, there was no way to feed it. Well, one way perhaps, but that was unthinkable. So it was never gone.

In fact, gone was something it could not be, for he could not escape it any more than he could escape himself. The best he could do was forget it. Sometimes he did so, for minutes, hours, maybe even for a day or two.

But this thing did not like to be forgotten. Like air escaping a punctured tire, it would spread out from his stomach and be everywhere. Inside and outside, up and down, day and night, just beyond the foot of his bed, in his sock drawer, on the porch steps, at the edges of the lips of other boys, in the sudden flutter from a bush that he had come too close to. Everywhere.

Just to remind him.

This thing, this not wanting to be a wringer, did it ever knock him from his bike? Untie his sneaker lace? Call him a name? Stand up and fight?

No. It did nothing. It was simply, merely there, a whisper of featherwings, reminding him of the moment he dreaded above all others, the moment when the not wanting to be a wringer would turn to becoming one.

In his dreams the moment had already come. In his dreams he looks down to find hishands around the neck of the pigeon. It feels silky. The pigeon's eye is like a polished shirt button. The pigeon's eye is orange with a smaller black button in the center. It looks up at him. It does not blink. It seems as if the bird is about to speak, but it does not. Only the voices speak: "Wring it! Wring it! Wring it!"

He cannot. He cannot wring it, nor can he let go. He wants to let go, desperately, but his fingers are stone. And the voices chant: "Wring it! Wring it!" and the orange eye stares.

Sometimes he wished it would come after him, chase him, this thing he did not want to be. Then at least he could run from it, he could hide. But the thing never moved. It merely waited. Waited for him to come to it.

And he would. He would come to it as surely as nine follows eight and ten follows nine. He would come to it without having to pedal or run or walk or even move a muscle. He would fall smack into the lap of it without doing anything but breathe. In the end he would get there simply by growing one day older.

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Wringer 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 172 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wringer was a great book! It made me have different emotions in every chapter! I was reading this in fourth grade and loved it! I would reccomend this book to anyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing i reccomend this book to anyone, in fact i reccomend jerry spinelli to anyone!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
kalieka More than 1 year ago
The name of the book that I am writing about is The Wringer. This book is by Jerry Spinelli. This book is a fanicey book. I picked this book because the back of the book sound good to me. The Wringer is about a boy named palmer who dose not want to join a compassion that happens every year at the park. A lot of people gather and ages 10-15 year olds shoot pigeons. You must talk a safety class before u can enter the compassion. I like this book because I can relate to the main idea of the story. My favor charter was "snots" aka palmer. I liked him because he was not like the others. My favorite part of this story was when the pigeon stats coming to palmer's window. I learn that just because every one else is doing does not mean you have to. I liked this book because it had a nice ending and he did not fall in to peer presser. I wood engorge 11-15 year olds to read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can a boy have a pet pigeon in a town that hates pigeons, and keep it a secret? Wringer is another phenomenal heartfelt tale by the terrific author of Jerry Spinelli. This book is about a young kid named Palmer who dreads his 10th birthday. Everything is perfect in Palmer's world until one day an unexpected visitor is at his windowsill. Then his life changes for ever. His friends turn on him. His enemy's turn to friends. This amazing, twisting novel is a absolute must read. The author, Jerry Spenelli, had great descriptions. When describing Palmer's room or describing a character, he told us about it in such great detail. In one chapter it described bean's yellow, green and red multicolored teeth. In another chapter he described palmer's room with the white bird poop on the floor, the stack of knocked over comics, and a clumsy bird on his desk. One time the author described a dead muskrat in a frozen spaghetti container and the stench of it when heated up and the look on Mrs. Druzik face when she saw it. I liked the way I could clearly understand who, where or when the events happened and I could picture it. I liked the friendships in this story in this story between Nipper and Palmer. Although Palmer was a boy and Nipper was a pigeon in a town that hated pigeons their friendship was strong and they protected each other. Nipper came back to Palmer's window no matter what happened, because he trusted that Palmer would protect him. Nipper was almost blown to pieces at Family Fest during Pigeon Day, but Palmer jumped in front of the shooter. Almost everyone would not have a pigeon flying around in their room in a town that is the capitol of pigeons haters and publicize it on a day where you kill them. Jerry Spenelli used great detail and made great unique and interesting friendships. He made what a normal author would describe about a park into an amusement park and two complete different animals to seem like there one. This is one of the greatest tales in Jerry Spenelli's collection, you must read this book. Darth Vader, Chewbacca and Yoda are awsome I'm not a hacker
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very powerful
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To those who said this book is dumb because it made you cry or "disgusting", it can't be dumb, if a book has the power to make you cry it must be good and all of the things in this book have a meaning. To the person reading this, it is not a waste of money if you like the author, most of his books are written in his style and his style is "odd". If you can get past the title and the grotesque parts you will see the book is about the boy, Palmer, and his life, not pigeons...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a epic great book! I am reading this book with my class too. Even though,i do like birds,I think shooting and wringing pegioens is NOT cool. But I love this book. And I think you should recmonend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My teacher made my class read this and so far it is sooooo good!!!! But there was some sad parts and funny parts!!! I live this book can not wait to finish!!!!"
lewis23 More than 1 year ago
Wringer was a very good book. It is about a boy named Palmer and his tenth birthday party that is coming up. I think Jerry Spinelli did a great job on the book and I hope he keeps on making more for the rest of his life. They are very interesting and I will read them all. This book is one everyone should read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wringer by Jerry Spinelli was a book I was very dissapointed in. I was generous in giving the book two stars. The Newbery Honor may have been the only thing keeping me from giving the book only one star. The book did not appeal to me at all and I doubt it would to any of my teenage peers. As a teenager, reading about being accepted in the 9 year-old crew while owning a pet pigeon is not very interesting. The story is about Palmer not wnting to become a wringer at the Family Fest. Ten year-olds can become wringers at the Family Fest in August. During the pigeon shooting contest the wringers go out and wring the necks of the suffering (not yet dead) pigeons. Since Palmer was little he did not like the pigeon shooting contest. His friends, however, have wanted to be wringers for as long as they can remember. Those friends are far from the most admirable of children. Many times Palmer describes Beans (the leader) as the kid with every color of the rainbow on at least one tooth in his mouth. Mutto and Henry are a part of the pack as well. Fitting in seems hard for Palmer, but his troubles compound when he adopts a pet pigeon, Nipper. He shares Nipper with Dorothy Gruzik, perhaps the only nice person in the book who slowly becomes Palmer's best friend. How will Palmer get out of his jam? Who cares?
Anonymous 9 months ago
I had to read it for school and i loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goos my favourite
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Today we had to write 3 scentences about Palmers actions so i wrote he is a good friend,a bad freind and a nice friend.he is nice because he didn't want to be a wringer he also didnt want to disapoint dad.he is bad because he shook Nipper and called him a dumb stupid pigeoin.he is good because he protects Nipper and Dorothy from Beans finding out Palmer has a pigeon and Dorothy as a friend again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read! I read it in forth grade and it was awsome. I hope everyone enjoys this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much! My teacher read this book and.we loved! We said read it again, read it again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that this book is sooo heart warming i love birds
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book in school and it has approximatly 40 chapters and i am on chapter 15. Lolz
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We read this book in class and it was a good book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You guys are such idiots. My teacher is reading it to my cass and i and every time there is a... umm i guess very interseting part he would stop and we would all say NO!!!!!! And he would go on. Who ever does not like the book you are crazy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But I liked it. Good for 10-13 year olds
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very fascinating. I really enjoyed it. It brought back good childhood memories and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a "feel-good" story to read. Its for a younger audience but still a nice quick read. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It ws sad cus i luv animals and would HATE to be that kid. Sucks 4 him. XD