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Cummings, Priscilla. Red kayak.

CUMMINGS, Priscilla. Red kayak. Penguin, Dutton. 209p. c2004. 0-525-47317-3. $15.99. J

Cummings has written for slightly younger readers in her previous books, Saving Grace, Autumn Journey, and A Face First. This is a solid YA novel, featuring a thoughtful 13-year-old narrator named Brady who must deal with some serious moral choices when a little neighbor boy dies. The setting is the Eastern Shore, Maryland, and Brady's father is a waterman, making a living catching crabs. One stress point is that the crab harvest is smaller every year and the family and the neighborhood are suffering financially because of this. Brady is a skilled waterman himself, which is why he is called out to help in the search for the red kayak when a storm comes up and a woman and her child are missing. He finds the little boy but even with CPR, the child dies. This is a terrible situation for Brady, but it becomes much worse when he suspects that his two best friends caused the kayak to sink. Indeed. eventually Brady decides to tell what he knows, which means his friends are accused of second-degree murder.

This is a memorable story of a young person struggling with grief and guilt. Each character is believable, including the adults in the story. There is plenty of action to appeal to readers, and the angst will be something all YAs, especially those Brady's age. will be able to understand.

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.
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Author:Rosser, Claire
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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