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The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

by Josh Berk

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2010
250 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-85699-0

Ages 13 and older

A recent transfer from a school for deaf students, Will Halpinís snarkily observant voice takes measure of his new surroundings at Carbon High School. When classmate Devon Smiley makes friendly overtures, Will isnít interested in allying himself with another social outsider. But Devonís a persistent guy, and Will is drawn into a friendship despite himself. The two are part of a school field trip to the Happy Memory Coal Mine when a popular football player plummets to his death, prompting Will and Devon to launch their own investigation into the suspicious event. The contemporary intrigue is paralleled by a local legend about a deaf coal miner who shares Willís name and is reported to haunt the Happy Memory Coal Mine. Will and Devon are joined in their sleuthing by Ebony, Willís friend from the school for the deaf, and the trio uncovers secrets among the staff and students of Carbon High. At the same time, Will applies his analysis of the current events to answer questions about his doppelganger ghost. Willís smart and witty adolescent narration and the predictable mystery are balanced by weightier elements exploring the politics of deaf culture from Will and Ebonyís differing viewpoints.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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