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Endgame    by Nancy Garden order for
by Nancy Garden
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Gray Wilton stares at the hexagon shaped wire mesh embedded in the window glass in his jail cell. He equates the six sides to himself. He is a son, brother, friend, archer, drummer - and a murderer.

How did a fourteen-year-old-boy become a murderer? What drove him to kill his classmates? As Gray reluctantly gives the story of the past year to his lawyer, readers feel the pain, anger and frustration leading him to a horrendous act.

A freshman looking for a new start in a new school and new town, Gray is almost immediately picked out by the jocks as a target. Called crater face, little girl, fag and worse, he is told by teachers that sticks and stones might break your bones but words will never hurt you. He knows that words can hurt and humiliate, but he worries more that the jocks will go further every chance they get.

Gray is a gifted musician, but that is a talent for which his dad has no respect, so he is only allowed to practice one hour a week. His mother (who sometimes seems to believe in him) goes along with whatever causes the least conflict. When he is given permission to take his drums to school for a concert, his dad doesn't attend. The concert is a huge success, but his drums are destroyed by the jocks. Since there are no eyewitnesses, no one is punished.

What final torture tips the scale? What humiliation is so great that Gray cares more about revenge than his own life or the life of those around him? In Endgame, Nancy Garden has written a powerful, thought-provoking novel about guilt, innocence and blame.

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