Product Details

$17.99  $16.73
Egmont USA
Publish Date
5.93 X 8.42 X 1.28 inches | 1.08 pounds

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About the Author

The only thing MICOL OSTOW enjoys more than reading and writing is being scared out of her ever-lovin wits.When she was 12, her father gifted her with a copy of "Helter Skelter." Needless to say, it made an impact.
Micol is the author of "So" "Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother)," " "which was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens, and which "Booklist" called a rollicking, witty, and ultra-contemporary book that drums on the funny bone and reverberates through the heart. She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and currently runs a popular young adult writing workshop through
Micol lives and works in New York City with her filmmaker husband and a finicky French bulldog.Visit Micol at:"


"A fictionalized examination of cult behaviors in general and the Manson family in particular, told in episodic free verse, may not be for the faint of heart, but it makes for absorbing psychodrama. Any reader who knows the history will find tension from the first page, even as seventeen-year-old Melinda, the book's narrator, assures us she has found her savior in Henry, who will help her sever ties with her horrific family. Her new 'family' seems to consist of mostly drugged, sexually willing young women who vaguely resemble her, a fact that will be clearer to the reader than it is, tragically, to Melinda. Indeed, it is only far too late that Melinda snaps back into independent thinking, and readers are left with a deeply flawed protagonist whom they will nonetheless forgive and root for as she struggles, for a second time, to survive the choices of those around her. The portrait of the Manson-like Henry, viewed only through Melinda's adoring perspective, lacks some of the sharp charisma that one would expect of a cult leader; while this may make it more difficult for modern readers to understand how he gathered so many who were willing to murder and die for him, it also emphasizes the way environmental factors (drugs, lack of sleep, removal from the larger world) can play a dramatic role in the way cults expand and evolve. The short, sparse verses used in the 'after' poems elevate and chillingly lay bare the seemingly inevitable violence. Since it's a provocative exploration, it's too bad that there's no additional reading list, as readers will be interested in learning more about Manson and his followers." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books


"Given the young participants and the elements of drugs, sex, music, and hero worship, the Charles Manson murders practically scream out for a YA treatment. This free-verse interpretation is not the engrossing epic many will want, though some will dig the book's surgical focus upon the psyche of one character: 16-yearold homeless abuse-survivor Mel. She meets Henry (our Manson stand-in) on the streets of San Francisco and, after an initiation via drugs, is incorporated into Henry's 'family'--a ragtag gang of drifters who believe Henry is a holy figure whose message will shake the world. Ostow's yearning prose poetry ('i am only hollowed-out spaces. / i am only the opposite of matter') relies too much on repetition, and entire pages go by restating Mel's mental state. The biggest issue is Mel's lack of growth; she starts and ends as a cipher, making it difficult for the reader to appreciate Henry's influence. Thankfully, Ostow's Henry is fascinating, a pied piper hell-bent on reaching the masses, whether through love or terror. The subject alone should make this popular." --Booklist