Trigger by Susan Vaught
Paperback (of which I don't love the cover):
Jersey Hatch seemed to have it all together—he played sports, was popular, had a great girlfriend, best friend, and supportive parents. But when he emerges from a recuperative care center, all that is gone, his legs and hands don’t work right, his mouth says every word that pops into his brain, and he has to write down his thoughts so that he remembers even the most basic directions and details. Through it all, one question haunts him: why did he try to kill himself?
The motivation behind a teenager's suicide attempt and its lasting effects on family and friends is the subject of this rather disturbing, well-crafted novel. Seventeen-year-old Jersey Hatch, who narrates, attempted to blow his brains out using his father's gun. Now, back home from rehab and frustrated with his limitations, caused by the gunshot wound, Jersey struggles to remember why he wanted to kill himself. Mama Rush, an elderly neighbor, and her granddaughter Leza try to help him-the only two people in the whole community who seem willing to talk to Jersey honestly. Jersey's random, compulsive narrative (he possesses little ability to sensor his speech) makes this brain-damaged character compelling. Most of the secondary characters are also believable-although some of their angry reactions to him seem extreme, given his incapacitated state. Vaught's tightly focused story never deviates from its exploration as to what would drive a teen to suicide. Readers who ever wondered what could happen if their suicide attempt failed may find this to be a powerful cautionary tale. Ages 12- up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.I loved this book, and have passed it on to many people who just ate it up as well. The insight into the mind of a brain-damaged teen is fascinating and she did it so well. Susan is a neuropsychologist, so she knows what she's talking about when it comes to these things. Not to be a one-book wonder, she has gotten raves for Stormwitch (which I haven't read) and Big Fat Manifesto, which I read and loved too.
One admission - Susan and I share an agent and we met once on a shuttle bus to the airport in Kansas City, but I doubt that that moment was a highlight of her life. Other than that, we have no connection, except for the fact that I want to write books like hers that are great reads and stay with you for a long time.
Looking for a great read? Pick this up - you won't be sorry.
Coming soon - J's review of Hunger Games (which I finally had to buy for him and press into his hands), if I can get him to sit down and do it.
On this date: In 1971, Masterpiece Theater debuted.