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list price: $14
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
category: Fiction
published: Dec 2009
ISBN:9780143170297

Last December

by Matt Beam

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5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $14
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
category: Fiction
published: Dec 2009
ISBN:9780143170297
Description

Fifteen-year-old Steven needs to explain something— everything—to his sister, Sam. She needs to know about Jenny from his new high school, and how the freckles on her arm make his synapses go crazy. She needs to know about eighteen-year old dropout Byron, all his fascinating ideas about chaos and coolness and trying to keep it together. And she definitely needs to know about what drastic measures Steven is now considering and why. He needs to get this all down, so that some day Sam'll know what happened to him—to all of them—last December.


 

About the Author

Matt Beam

MATT BEAM is a writer, photographer and teacher. His young adult novels include Can You Spell Revolution?, Earth to Nathan Blue and Last December. He created two photographic picture books, City Alphabet and City Numbers, with words by Joanne Schwartz. He lives in Toronto.

Author profile page >
Contributor Notes

Matt Beam, the young author of a children’s novel Getting to First Base with Donalda Chase, is a freelance journalist who lives in Toronto.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
12 to 100
Grade:
7 to 17
Editorial Review

“Few hockey players see the ice perfectly; fewer writers see everything in the world they play in; Matt Beam has a fine eye for the game—and an excellent one for the game of real life.” - Roy MacGregor, author of The Screech Owls Mystery Series

“Matt Beam has established himself as an insightful chronicler of the adolescent male experience.” - Canadian Children’s Book News

“The contrivance of the novel-as story, ‘letter or whatever’—works brilliantly, because Steven is an intelligent, likable character with an utterly fresh and original voice.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Beam offers a quiet, accurate, fully sketched portrait of an adolescent male facing life’s challenges.” - Booklist

“Author Matt Beam is able to portray the hopes and fears of an adolescent boy with both accuracy and empathy and leads Steven and the reader through this emotional labyrinth to a satisfying conclusion.” - CM Magazine

“Matt Beam has done an excellent job capturing the uncertainty and turmoil of adolescence. […] Beam blends humorous situations with highly dramatic and emotionally powerful moments, and he creates suspense that builds until the very last pages, urging his audience to read on.” - ALAN Online

“The narrative's combination of raw language and poetic insight rings true.” - The Horn Book Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Books

“The style of writing is right on mark; all teenagers will be able to identify with what Steven is going through and sometimes, perhaps, that is all a reader might need to realize that what they are going through is normal as well.” - Children's Literature

“The author skillfully weaves Steven’s journey from hopelessness to acceptance of circumstances […]. This title will be great for bibliotherapy with students who are experiencing multiple stresses in their adolescent lives.” - Library Media Connection

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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Last December

In his previous books, Matt Beam has also established himself as an insightful chronicler of the adolescent male experience. In Last December he experiments with a new format: Steven’s story unfolds as a letter that he is writing to his unborn baby sister. In this letter, he candidly recounts the confusing jumble of thoughts and feelings that he is trying to sort through, including his feelings about this soon-to-be new baby in their lives. He takes us through the experiences of his daily life: tryouts for the hockey team; a confrontation with a skinhead/bully; making new friends; Jenny from science class; arguments that he inexplicably provokes with his mother; and meeting Byron. Byron teaches him everything he needs to know about Pacman… and maybe a few other things. Like the Chaos Factor. And God with a small “g”. And tackling life head-on, with a “balls-to-the-wall” attitude. In Steven’s letter to baby Sam, we find a boy who is trying to make sense of his own life in the context of the wider world around him. He is surprised and caught off guard by unexpected bursts of emotion, particularly when he is dealing with his mother whom he loves, yet continually finds himself saying the most hurtful things to. This is a very honest glimpse inside the head of an ordinary 15-year-old boy who is struggling to understand, and maybe even to exert some measure of control over, who he is becoming.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2010. Vol.33 No.3.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Last Decemeber

Fifteen-year-old Steven needs to explain something — everything — to his sister Sam. The problem is she’s not even born yet. Steven’s not even sure why his mom is having Sam or if Sam is even a she. But he does know one thing. He needs to get this all down, so that someday Sam will know what happened to him — to all of them — last December.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

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