The Brimstone Journals by Ron Koertge

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In a startling, often poignant student journal, acclaimed poet and novelist Ron Koertge creates a suburban high school both familiar and terrifying.

The Branston High School Class of 2001 seems familiar enough on the surface: there’s the Smart One, the Fat Kid, Social Conscience, Bad Girl, Good Girl, Jock, Anorexic, Dyke, Rich Boy, Sistah, Stud . . . and Boyd, an Angry Young Man who has just made a dangerous new friend. Now he’s making a list.

The Branston High School Class of 2001. You might think you know them. You might be surprised.

A unique poetic novel, THE BRIMSTONE JOURNALS provides an ideal opportunity for young adults to discuss violence in schools.

About Ron Koertge

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Ron Koertge is the author of several acclaimed novels, including THE ARIZONA KID, WHERE THE KISSING NEVER STOPS, and TIGER, TIGER, BURNING BRIGHT, all of which were ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Of The Brimstone Journals, he says, "Usually, I choose characters and settings that are humorous and offbeat. The Brimstone Journals, however, chose me. The characters woke me up at night, the entire first draft took just three weeks. Then the voices were gone and it was time to be a writer again instead of merely taking dictation from god-knows-where." Ron Koertge lives in South Pasadena, California, and teaches English at Pasadena City College, as well as in the MFA in Writing for Children program at Vermont College.
Published February 1, 2001 by Candlewick. 128 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In a series of free-verse poems, Koertge (Heart of the City, 1998, etc.) sketches out both a large cast of teenagers and an issues-heavy tale of high-school violence narrowly averted.

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Publishers Weekly

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Through poems, Koertge (Where the Kissing Never Stops) creates 15 separate narrators, all seniors at Branston (nicknamed Brimstone) High School, struggling with major problems. Boyd, a white supre

Feb 01 2001 | Read Full Review of The Brimstone Journals

Publishers Weekly

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While Koertge's pacing allows readers to sense the building tension, the brevity of the poems provides readers with little insight into the characters, so that they teeter on the edge of melodrama: Kitty is anorexic (""I think if I'm thin enough, I can fly""), Sheila wonders if she's a lesbian be...

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Teen Reads

Mercilessly, Boyd compiles a list of people he hates, his "hit list," student by student.

Jan 05 2004 | Read Full Review of The Brimstone Journals

Common Sense Media

These kids have problems -- for example, a white supremacist is planning a violent attack on his school -- but reading about the struggles of other kids can teach teens to empathize with those who are different from them.

May 02 2004 | Read Full Review of The Brimstone Journals

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