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Matt Donaghy is the class joker and Ursula Riggs is the misfit loner. Neither knows the other. But when Matt is arrested on a charge of threatening to blow up the school and massacre the students, Ursula is the only one who sees through the hysteria and hypocrisy, and corroborates Matt's story
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Book Level: 5.1
Interest Level: UY
Quiz Number: 206665
Hard-hitting, page-turning and celebratory of friendship in unlikely circumstances, Joyce Carol Oates' sure touch with small town life hits home in her first young adult novel.
Matt Donaghy is the class joker, and Ursula Riggs is the misfit loner. Neither knows the other. But when Matt is suddenly arrested on a charge of threatening to blow up the school and massacre the students, Ursula is the only one who sees through the hysteria and hypocrisy, and corroborates Matt's story.
The case is dropped, but Matt's old friends avoid him, and his teachers treat him with kid gloves. Even Ursula, apparently his only friend during the crisis, can't meet his eye. But Ursula can't remain aloof when she catches Matt contemplating suicide - and a strange friendship is born.
"The relationship between Ursula and Matt grows, credibly and compellingly, against a convincing high school backdrop. Readers will relate to the pressures these two experience, both at school and from their parents, and be gratified by their ability to emerge the wiser."Publisher's Weekly
Praise for Joyce Carol Oates' writing:
"Miss Oates is one of our most audaciously talented writers. Her gift is so large, her fluency in different genres - poems, short stories, novels, essays - so great, that at times she seems to challenge the ability of readers to keep up with her."Erica Jong
"One of the greatest writers of our time."John Gardner
'Matt Donaghy has always been a big mouth'
But its never got him into trouble - until one day when two detectives escort him out of class for questioning. The charge? Matt has been accused of threatening to blow up Rocky River High School.
'Ursula Riggs has always been an ugly girl'
She has no time for petty high-school stuff like friends and dating. Ursula is content with minding her own business. And she doesn't even really know Matt Donaghy.
But Ursula knows injustice when she sees itAnd she's not afraid to speak out.
'Every single Oates novel I've read has added to my conviction that she is a genius.'Julie Myerson, 'Independent on Sunday'