Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Sunday, April 15, 2012

Plot Summary:
Shayne Blank just moved into town and no one knows who is he and where he comes from. For Mikey, Shayne is a complete mystery, but very likable. After a run in with the resident drug dealer, Jon, Mikey needs to repay Jon for tossing his marijuana stash when the drug dogs came to school. The thing is: Mikey doesn't do drugs, nor does he like them; Jon just happens to be his sister's new boyfriend, which makes things that more complicated and the stash had a street value of $500. When Mikey meets Shayne for the first time, it was a little awkward, but the more he got to know Shayne, the more he started to like him. When Mikey ended up spilling his guts about the marijuana debacle, Shayne does something Mikey never expected...Shayne offered to help him. Although none of this is Mikey's fault, he is afraid to do anything because Jon isn't the type to mess with because those who do end up getting hurt real bad. However, Shayne is actually a force to be reckoned with, especially when he confronts Jon. Unlike most teenagers, Shane is quite mature and prefers to deal with problems diplomatically. Unfortunately, Jon is not one for diplomacy and the more Shayne gets involves, the more complicated this story becomes. In many aspects, Mikey isn't sure what to do with Shayne because if he is around, he knows he safe, but, when he is gone, things get even more screwed up. Just when things couldn't get any worse, the relationship between Jon and Mikey's sister is becoming more and more volatile and it leaves Mikey feeling helpless. Who is Shayne and why does he care so much? What really happened that day on the roof?

Critical Evaluation:
Pete Hautman has done it again! I was totally unable to put this book down because I had to know if Shayne really murdered someone! Hautman has such an amazing ability to convey real issues that are not only relevant to teens today, but how the effects of these behaviors have on everyone around them. In this particular story, the issues of drug use, and abuse, domestic violence, and lack of self-esteem are what Mikey is struggling with. Although Mikey doesn't do drugs, his only sister is wrapped up in this world because of Jon, which is not only painful for Mikey to see, but foretells a rather scary future for Mikey's. Mikey is also familiar domestic violence since his father is a recovering alcoholic who beat physically beat his mother and psychologically abused his sister. Now that he is sober, Mikey's father is too ashamed of his past, which paralyzes him when trouble occurs. As for Shayne, well, readers are not quite sure of his past until the end of the story, but, given the extent of his stories, he comes from a long line of protectors. The relationship between these two characters is different where Shayne seems to take on an unspoken fatherly/older brother role who is set on protecting Mikey and his sister. For Mikey, he isn't looking for a protector, but a friend and this leaves him somewhat confused. Shayne is an absolute mystery, but, in many respects, we admire and feel sorry for him. Ever since Shayne stepped foot in town, the lives of Mikey and Detective Rawls have forever changed; by knowing Shayne, they have learned to find the strength and the courage to stand up for what they believe in.

Information about the Author:
According to his website, Pete Hautman was born in 1952 in Berkely, Califronia. When he was six years old, he and his family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. After spending seven years at two different colleges (Minneapolis College of Art and Design and University of Minneapolis), he ended up "knowing a little bit about nearly everything, and a great deal about absolutely nothing." Hautman has done a little bit of everything: sign painter, graphic artist, marketing executive, painter cap salesman, pineapple slicer, and much, much more! Sadly, none of these professions worked out for him so he decided to become a novelist and wrote his first book, Drawing Dead, in 1991. Thirteen years later, Hautman wrote Godless, which won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
Teen Suspense, Teen Contemporary Fiction

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 8 & up

Books Similar to Blank Confession:
Awards & Recognition:
  • Publisher's Weekly Starred Review (11/5/2010)

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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