From the author of Cracked and Empty comes a gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must make the ultimate decision about what's more important: family or their differences.
It's not Oscar's fault he's misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he's been disrespected by his father and bullied by his self-absorbed older brother, so he withdraws from his fractured family, seeking refuge in his art.
Vance wishes his younger brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother's death without Oscar getting all emotional. At least when Vance pushes himself in lacrosse and parties, he feels alive.
But when their father's alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two brothers must come face-to-face with their demonsand each otherif they are going to survive a very uncertain future.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
K.M. Walton is the author of Cracked, Empty, and Ultimatum. As a former middle-school teacher, she's passionate about ending bullying, and her powerful presentations have made an impact on thousands. K.M. is a graduate of West Chester University. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two sons, and cat. Visit her at kmwalton.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
ULTIMATUM is a riveting novel about two teen brothers, who already lost their mother three years ago, and are now dealing with the impending death of their alcoholic father. What sets this fast-paced novel apart from other YA novels about losing a parent is the way Walton deftly alternates chapters between Oscar's point of view in the present (and in present tense) and Vance's chapters that start three years ago and are written in past tense. It's a fascinating juxtaposition, especially when Oscar's and Vance's points of view come together at the end. Those last few chapters left me breathless and madly turning pages. But the first few chapters will also blow you away. The author knows how to hook the reader with a well-chosen sentence or two. We learn about each brother from his own interior monologue, but also from the other brother's voice, adding depth and layers to a story that revolves around the main characters. These young men are struggling and my heart ached for them, but the author leaves room for hope.
Ultimatum is the story of two brothers who are dealing with the impending death of their father. Oscar and Vance are complete opposites from each other. When they were little, their mother died and since them the wedge between the boys has only gotten larger. However, now that their father is on his death bed with the clock ticking away, the boys have some decisions to make, remain a family and lean on each other or go into the foster system. When I say that these boys are complete opposites, I mean it. Oscar is the younger of the two and has always felt like the odd man out. Once his mother passed away, Oscar felt alone. Sure, he lived with his father and brother but his brother hated his guts for some reason and his father was an alcoholic. Actually the father and brother were a lot alike. They both drank, they were both out of control, and they both thought being such was “cool”. However, Oscar was the quiet type. He preferred to hang out in his room and draw instead, and he didn’t have any friends. These two brothers were so opposite and hated each other so much, that I wasn’t overly sure what was going to happen to them when the time came. Ultimatum is told between both brothers POV and it also switches between past and present. So, we are given a look at how things came about. Vance’s POV is told in the past and Oscar’s is told in the present. In all honesty, I was not a fan of Vance, not even at the end. He was selfish and a bully. He drinks, does drugs, and expects everyone to do what he wants and when they don’t he throws a hissy fit. What killed me was that he idolized his father, the man who cheated on his wife time and time again, who was a raging alcoholic, and who saw nothing wrong with bringing a total stranger home and banging her brains out… while the boys were home. The way Vance treated Oscar was horrible. He talked down to him, excluded him, and pretty much pushed him out of his life… and yet claimed that Oscar did it himself, that Oscar thought he was better than everyone. I just couldn’t handle Vance’s personality. I felt bad for Oscar. He watched his father spiral out of control, watched his brother follow in their father’s footsteps, and wound up finding himself as an outcast because he didn’t partake in the same things as his father and brother. Oscar was the light at the end of the tunnel for me. While I couldn’t stand Vance, their story was no less captivating. The author has a way of roping you in and holding you captive with her story. I had to know what happened, both in the past and future. Why did they turn out the way they did? What would happen when their father passed away? Would the brothers ever see eye to eye? Needless to say, I wound up reading this book in a handful of hours. I sat down to read a couple of chapters and didn’t get back up until I finished the whole thing.
"Ultimatum" is a heart-wrenching story of two brothers who have always seen themselves as opposites and impossible, learning that they are all they have left. Oscar and Vance are about a year apart and while Oscar likes art, classical music and privacy/quiet, Vance likes sports (lacrosse), reggae, and partying. Their mother died three years ago and their dad is currently in hospice, but he's been less than ideal for a long time, as a severe alcoholic. Oscar took after their mother and Vance took after their father- including with drugs and alcohol. The book is told in alternating perspectives between Oscar's in the present and Vance's throughout time (since their mother's death through to the near future). It's essentially a breakdown of all the places their relationship tore apart and Vance's life fell apart. All framed by the two brothers watching their father die in hospice. It is certainly an emotional ride. The book is incredibly well composed and difficult to put down, as it spirals through critical life events and the inevitability of death as they count their father's breaths. This is written at a level that is more mature than most YA books and should be considered for older teens and adults- there is a lot of drug use, alcoholism, mentions of infidelity/sex, and other adult themes. That being said, it is certainly a book that will leave you with a lot to consider/think about. It's a heavy read but does end with a note of hope. There are many poignant themes that can be gleaned from this book- it's a powerful read. Overall, I would recommend this book to older/mature YA readers as it really is beautifully composed. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.