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Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe

June 15, 2009

Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe
published by HarperTeen October 7, 2008

Kyle, the 15-year-old protagonist of Freeze Frame, has always been a passionate movie buff. He understands the nuances of myriad movies, directors, and genres. In a way, this provides him with an alternate world to slip into when his life becomes unbearable.

His best friend Jason was killed, and Kyle was found holding the gun. He tries to remember what happened that day, but he has repressed the critical moment. Was it a terrible accident? Or did he kill his friend in cold blood?

He tries to reclaim these memories, but they keep slipping from his grasp. He tries writing the scene, exactly as it happened, in his journal. He writes it as a screenplay in the style of various directors, including Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino. But he still can’t break through his mental block.

Meanwhile he is facing probation, the demands of high school, and bullies as well as the anger of Jason’s family. He also made a promise to look after Jason’s little brother, Chase. This promise helps him hang on when guilt and despair have him cornered and suicide seems like the only answer.

The best part of this book, for me, was Kyle’s character. His passions, his quirks, and his thoughts and emotions were clearly drawn. I got a strong sense of his loyalty, his conscience, and his compassion. This elevated the story from being just another “issue” novel. And the connection I felt with the characters, especially Kyle, kept me eagerly turning pages, anxious to learn what Kyle would discover about himself and the day that Jason died. This is a novel that will be hard for me to forget.

Rating:

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