Hartnett, Sonya. Surrender. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 2005.
I remember my first sight of him - the sound and scavenger look of him - surrounded by summer; I remember the stillness of the day and the density of the air. Neither of us was older than nine or ten. I was skimming a car along the garden fence when Finnigan crossed the brink of my vision. At first I feigned ignorance or disdain of his presence, but the car beneath my fingertips bunny-hopped and soon stalled. I slid a glance at him. At school we had seen a wildlife film projected onto a wall, and the boy who was watching me was a hyena. His dark eyes were set apart and seemed to have no arena of white. He didn't move or say a thing but I knew, just from his watching, that he could sever my arm. We were the same height and same age and built along similar leggy lines, but he was a hyena while I was a small, ashy, alpine moth. From the footpath side of the fence he stared at me, and my gaze floated grudgingly from the toy. He swiped a fly from his face. "You're that boy," he said.
". . .What boy?"
"You know. That boy. You know. What you did. Everybody knows."
At twenty years old, Gabriel is on his deathbed, looking back on his childhood. When he was only a child, he made a pact with a wild child named Finnigan...Finnigan would be all bad, and Gabriel would be all good. But when a series of arsons begin to break out around their small town, Gabriel begins to realize how dangerous and out of control Finnigan really is.
This is the novel I’ve always wanted to write. I figured out the twist by the second chapter, but the dog threw me for awhile, I couldn’t figure out who was taking care of him. That was clever. And even though I knew he must have murdered someone, I was shocked to find out who. Great climax, I was taken by surprise. She has a great style of writing, but I wonder how accessible she is to teens. I know adults and supersmart teens would like reading it, but what about the rest of them?