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Beast
ISBN: 9780439865500
Author: Kennen, Ally
Publisher: Push
Published: October 2007
Retail: $7.99    OUR PRICE: $1.99
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Binding Type: Paperback
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Annotation: Stephen hasn't had it easy. He's now in foster care because his mom is crazy and his dad is an ex-con vagabond. He's always in trouble or on his way to trouble. But none of these problems compare to the problem of the Beast -- a fierce crocodile that Stephen's been taking care of for years. The Beast is Stephen's biggest secret -- and also his biggest challenge. And that's when it's in a cage. When the Beast escapes, the stakes get even higher.
With a keen eye and a startling voice, Ally Kennen joins the ranks of Kevin Brooks and Chris Wooding on the cutting edge of YA fiction.

Additional Information
Physical Information: 0.50" H x 7.04" L x 5.08" W 217 pages
Bargain Category: Middle School, High School
Grade level(s): 7th, 8th, 9th
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring)
Foster teen Stephen has secretly kept a crocodile (a gift from his real father) caged in the city reservoir for years. Now he struggles to contain the fully grown beast behind bars even as he tries to keep his own trouble-making self outside of them. Though the pace drags at times, vivid, complex characters coping with difficult situations will hold readers' interest. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2006 November)

Gr 8 Up Stephen, a British 17-year-old, has been in and out of trouble with the law and with his various foster families since he was 7. He is gearing up for what he expects to be his worst crime yet: murder. In a fast-moving, first-person narration, he reveals that his plans aren't to kill another human he intends to kill a beast that has been plaguing him for six years. Bit by bit, in hinted details and promises that explanations will come later, the teen plots how to rid himself of the huge crocodile his criminal father gave him without letting his foster family in on the secret. The situation soon spirals out of control, and Stephen must allow himself to trust others with his secret to rid himself of the Beast. Kennen tells the story predominantly in the present tense, and even Stephen's flashbacks, told in past tense, serve to propel the story forward. Though the characters travel from crisis to solution over the course of the novel, there is less growth than revelation about who they are under the facades they show the world. Despite its somewhat urban setting, this is the sort of story that Jack London might have written if he'd crafted tales for hip modern teens. Facts about the crocodile are naturally introduced through Stephen's commentary and dialogue with others. Some reluctant readers may stumble over Briticisms; others will be drawn in by the quick pacing and authentic voice. Alana Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT

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