Neutral: state or position
of disconnected or loosened gears or other connecting parts.
Shawn McDaniel is stuck in
neutral. Shawn is an extraordinary, intelligent and witty fourteen
year old. He lives in Seattle with his mother, brother Paul, and
sister Cindy. He loves Rock Music and potato chips. At the
age where he's just beginning to like girls, Shawn has a major crush on
Becky, an aide in his classroom at school. By the way, Shawn has
Cerebral Palsy. CP is a condition that sometimes happens to newborns during
the birthing process. In Shawn case, a tiny blood vessel burst inside
his head at exactly the WRONG spot. It completely wiped out his muscle
control. He can't move anything, Fingers, hands, legs, head, he can't
even BLINK! He can think though..., he can read...If you ask him a question
he knows the answer. But he can't tell you the answer, he can't communicate
at all. PERIOD. Oh, and did I mention Shawn’s father Sydney E. McDaniel,
a Pulitzer prize winning author of a poem about Shawn, and a famous TV
media personality. Shawn knows that despite his parents divorce, his father
loves him very much. BECAUSE of this love, or maybe IN SPITE of it,
Shawn thinks his father wants to kill him, dead. And there's not a thing
Shawn can do about it. (Kim Patton, Young Adult Specialist, Lawrence
Public Library, Lawrence, KS firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fourteen year old Shawn McDaniel
is a genius with some other pretty impressive gifts, only no one knows
it. He has Cerebral Palsy, a disease that prevents him from having
any control over the muscles in his body. He can’t speak, can’t walk,
or voluntarily move any part of his body and if that is not bad enough,
he also has seizures on an almost daily basis. He can also remember
everything that he has ever heard, but has no way to communicate that to
anyone. Despite his challenges, Shawn is happy to be alive and finds
joy in most parts of his life. Lately, however, he begins to suspect
that his father is planning to kill him! How can he tell his father
that he is happy with his life and that he wants to live? Will he
ever be able to communicate this to his father who is convinced that his
life is torture? Will he be able to tell him in time to save his
life? Read Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman. (Lanora Rogers,
Westview Elementary School)
My name is Shawn. I want to
tell you that my life is like one of those "good news-bad news" jokes.
The good news is: I've spent
my entire life on planet earth, all fourteen years, living in Seattle.
Some people gripe and moan about the weather, but I love Seattle. Even
I'm the youngest kid in the
family, 3 years younger than Cindie, and 2 years younger than Paul, who,
although I'd hate for them to know I admitted it, are pretty cool for a
brother and sister.
So what's the good news, you
ask? Well, you see, I have this weird gift or power, you might call it.
The thing is, I can remember everything I ever hear, perfectly, total recall.
I mean EVERYTHING. PERFECTLY. TOTALLY. I don't know of anybody else, anywhere,
who can do this. It started when I was three or four years old, and by
the time I was five, everything I heard just stayed in my head: commercials,
every melody I've ever heard, even MUZAK music, lines from movies, and
overheard conversations from my family and even from strangers. EVERYTHING.
But it's not like this so called
gift has made me rich or famous or anything. I just happen to have this
one SPECIAL talent - yuck! I hate that word special .when it's applied
to people. Especially when it's applied to me!
Well, I could go on and on
about the good news forever, but you probably wan to hear the punch line
- my BAD news.Right?
Well, there isn't much, really.
My parents got divorced ten years ago because of me. My dad didn't divorce
my mom, or Cindy, or Paul - he divorced me! He couldn't handle my condition.
My condition? Well, that brings us to the guts of my bad news.
In the eyes of the world I'm
a real retard .real in the same way that total means total. As in Total
Retard. Everyone will tell you I'm as dumb as a rock. Dumber. The doctors
say my brain doesn't work. But they're only half right.
The deal is: I have cerebral
palsy. It's not a disease. It's a CONDITION. When I was born a tiny blood
vessel burst inside my head and as luck would have it, the blood vessel
was in exactly the 100% perfectly wrong spot. It wiped out all my muscle
control - all of it: my fingers, my hands, my left foot, my stomach, my
tongue, my throat. So how could anyone possibly know about my "gift".
So that's the bad news, except
for one little detail I neglected to tell you. It's difficult to explain.
I told you about my dad leaving and all. He really loves me, I know that.
And he HAS become rich and famous on account of me - because of a poem
he wrote about me. I like the poem and all, but I don't think he really
knows me. Anyway, that's not the bad news. In a nutshell, the bad news
is that my dad - because he loves me, I'm sure - well, I'm pretty sure
that my dad is planning to kill me. And there's nothing I can do about
Susan Bartel for The
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
14 year old Shawn is bound
to a wheel chair and has no control over his muscles. He can not talk or
communicate in any way. Shawn has Cerbral Palsy. This book is a story about
Shawn’s life though his eyes in his perspective. Shawn’s dad always has
wanted what is best for his son, Shawn to be out of pain. Shawn’s dad’s
alliterative to this, is death for Shawn. Will Shawn’s dad go through with
his plans and kill him? Shawn wants so badly to just tell his dad how much
he loves him, but he can not. Read this thrilling and emotional novel,
and see what Shawn’s story in tales. Read Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman.
(Eilish Roberts, email@example.com,