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Fish in the Sky

by Fridrik Erlings
Translated by Translated from the Icelandic by the author


Published by U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2012
288 pages
ISBN: 9780763658885

Ages 12-14

Josh Stephenson has just turned thirteen, and in the weeks following his birthday he begins experiencing physical changes that alarm him, as well as increasing moments of frustration and anger toward his overworked single mother, and deepening sadness at the fact that his father has so little interest in his life. If all this weren’t enough, Josh’s seventeen-year-old cousin Trudy comes to stay, awakening additional anger, but something else as well. In a novel that moves seamlessly between riotously funny and achingly poignant, Icelandic writer Fridrik Erlings offers one of the most honest portrayals of a young teen boy’s sexual and emotional turmoil recently seen in adolescent literature. Erling’s writing is astonishing for its freshness, full of unexpectedly perfect descriptions of relationships, physical desire, and emotional confusion. There is very real agony for Josh around many things, including bullying at school. But there is also—and ultimately-- incredible clarity and transcendence as he moves through and beyond the tumult, and finds support and solace from unexpected sources. Terrific characterizations and wonderfully developed relationships also distinguish this laugh- and cry- out loud novel that is European in sensibility, with its unblinking exploration of everything from sexual desire to religion, but universal in potential appeal. (MS) ©2012 Cooperative Children’s Book Center


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