Thick  by Colin Neenan
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ALA (American Library Association) Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

List price: $6.95    
ISBN: 978-0974648194  
Brown Barn Books
Reluctant Reader


I did it.
I know I told you that when you were here, Ms. Lawson, but I want to say it again.
I did it.
I pulled the trigger.
I shot someone.

 THICK  is a moving story about a teenaged boy caught in a tragedy. A new novel by Colin Neenan, author of IDIOIT!, In Your Dreams and Live A Little.


Lesson Plans - Teacher's Guide

What Reviewers are Saying About this Book

Colin Neenan. THICK. Brown Barn Books, April 2006.
"Nick is thick. That’s what they call him when they make fun of his slowness, his difficulty in understanding how things work at home, school, and work. Nick is in jail for shooting someone, and he tells the story of this shooting from the inside of his cell, reflecting on the incidents that led to it. As the story unfolds, Nick shows one character after another who has the potential to become the victim of the shooting. Which person that Nick loves will it be? (M/H/RR). Using a powerfully-understated narrative voice, Neenan delves convincingly into the mind of a young man who is trying to sort out the world and while trying to do the right thing. A must read for reluctant readers, who will enjoy the quick pace and lucid prose."  The Alan Review (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents)

THICK—Children’s Literature Review, May 2006
"At his lawyer's urging, Nick writes the story of his accidental killing of his friend, Alice, which occurred while his father was trying to wrestle the gun from him. Nick is well aware of his disabilities, despite the best efforts of his sister Hope and teacher Mrs. Brown. His alcoholic father, a despicable character the reader later discovers drove his mother to commit suicide, reinforces Nick's poor self-concept by constantly badgering him and calling him "Thick." The book's essential elements--an identified special education teen, a dysfunctional family, an alcoholic and abusive parent, a classmate bully, a young woman who faults her own behavior for encouraging her boyfriend's physical abuse, and a mother who commits suicide--make this a gripping story. Although these components may seem unlikely to coalesce in one person's life, they do blend together to create a realistic, short, and fast-paced story that will grab students from page one (which ends "Real blood with a real blood smell. I did not know blood would smell."). With a low Fry reading level of 4th grade, this book is guaranteed to be popular with teens. Teachers can use it as a read-aloud or for whole class instruction, especially with students who have reading and learning difficulties. Teachers and librarians are cautioned to read it themselves before using or recommending it, as content may be too sensitive for some young people to handle. With this caveat, Thick is highly recommended."  Reviewed by Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Ph.D., Dept. of Special Education, Johns Hopkins University. Copyright May 2006 Children's Literature

NEENAN, Colin. Thick. 126p. Brown Barn Books. 2006. pap.$6.95.ISBN 0-9746481-9-1.LC2005935278.
 Gr 9 Up"Nick, 17, is in a holding cell awaiting trial and telling his lawyer what happened. He begins with his admission of guilt: he killed someone. The identity of the victim isn’t revealed until the final pages, but the author sustains suspense with Nick’s short, simple recap of recent events. He is in a special-education program at his high school. His alcoholic father verbally abuses him every chance he gets, and calls him stupid and “thick.” The teen meets Alice and her boyfriend, who physically abuses her. Between helping his 18-year-old sister keep her plans to go to college a secret from her father, being tormented by a bully at school, and trying to help Alice escape her boyfriend, Nick begins to crack. With an intense emotional climax, he finds himself armed with a gun and facing all of his hopes and fears. The chapters are short—some are only a paragraph or two—and the action never stops, making the book ideal for reluctant readers. The narrative is conversational and easy to read. Even though readers know the outcome in the first few pages, they will want to know more about Nick and the answer to the ultimate question: Who did he kill?"—Delia Carruthers, Sunset Ridge Middle School, West Jordan, UT 

    " A well written, authentic and very moving story about a teenaged boy, domestic violence, and the all too real tragedy of guns."
                                          -- Anthony Land, Chief of Police, Weston, CT.

About the Author
     Colin Neenan grew up in New York City and has always lived in the East. He’s been a doorman, a chauffeur and a census worker, but now he’s a librarian in a high school.
     He’s been writing forever and hopes that after you finish this book you’ll read his other books, IDIOT!, In Your Dreams and Live a Little. His daughters claim he eats too much salsa and sings too loud; they also call themselves modern Cinderellas because he makes them empty the dishwasher. The three of them live in Connecticut.
Excerpt from Thick

The police car was already loud on our street when I got outside.

I cut across our small backyard, my legs shaky, my head dizzy. It was dark and I tripped over weeds where Mom's garden had been.

The siren was screaming now, the police car stopping out front, red lights swinging by, and I jumped for the fence to the train tracks, leapt over the fence like I was a criminal they were going to catch. I couldn't hold onto the top like I was supposed to, though, and I landed on the little steep hill and started sliding fast.

Started sliding fast toward the top of the wall, the wall with the train tracks down below.

A train was roaring past down there racing toward New York City.

I clutched and clawed at anything, trying to slow down, but there was nothing but trash that had been blown there for years...

I was very glad to be alive.

Very glad I was still there to stop things from happening ever again.... 

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