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Oates, Joyce Carol.
New York : HarperTempest, 2002.
ISBN 0066237580

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Matt Donaghy is 16-years-old, a junior in high school, the class vice president and all-round good student with a promising future.  This is all about to change.  Yanked out of fifth period study hall by the police, he is utterly confused about what is happening.  When the police tell Matt that he has been accused of making threats against the school and his classmates, he can't believe what he's hearing.  He would never do such a thing!  How could anyone suspect him?  What is going on?  Apparently some students heard him kidding at lunch about blowing the place up.  He and his friends were goofing around.  No one would ever take that stuff seriously.  But now, things are spiraling out of control and Matt can't make the police understand that it was just a joke.  Have you ever said anything in jest that might be taken wrong by others?  Find out what happens to Big Mouth Matt and find out how his life and that of Ursula "Ugly Girl" Riggs change forever.

Booktalk #2

Mattís a friendly, smart and funny high school junior. His outrageous comments are meant to make classmates laugh and have never really gotten him into serious trouble before. Now itís different. Two police detectives escort him from class for questioning. Matt has been accused of threatening to blow up the school and heís assumed guilty until proven innocent. Some of his friends know what really happened but they donít want to get involved and donít stick up for Matt. Worse than just not helping, they shut him out. His unlikely ally is Ursula, a former classmate from elementary school. This is a fast-moving, timely and compelling story that exposes the social pressures of high school and how rumor mills and downright cruelty compound it.  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2006-2007)

SUBJECTS:     High schools -- Fiction.
                       Schools -- Fiction.
                        Friendship -- Fiction.


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