Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review of Last December by Matt Beam

Last December by Matt Beam; Front Street, 2009.
Fifteen-year-old Steven is a former hockey goalie and a science nerd who must attend a new school and make a lot of adjustments, not only to his school life, but also to his life at home. When he discovers his mother is pregnant, Steven begins writing a journal to explain to his soon-to-be-born sister, whom he names “Sam”, how causes and effects and God with a little g have impacted him. Through the journal entries, the reader discovers that Steven is having such a hard time dealing with events in his life that he may commit suicide. He is hanging out with undesirable characters, drinking a lot, and, in a drunken stupor, nearly rapes a girl he has a crush on. He is keeping late hours while hanging out with his friends and being disrespectful to his mother and his snoopy neighbor.

The characters in the book are complex and well-developed. While the cover art depicts a boy carrying hockey equipment, hockey only plays a very small part in the book. Students expecting a hockey story may be disappointed!

Recommended for high school and public libraries.