Cover image for Finn
Bacon, Katharine Jay.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
171 pages ; 22 cm
Unable to speak after his parents and sister are killed in a plane crash, sixteen-year-old Finn comes to stay with his grandmother on her Vermont farm, where his friendship with a neighbor, the activities of local drug dealers, and the actions of a hybrid wolf force him to deal with his grief.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.7 7.0 27938.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Though fifteen-yearFinn's badly burned hand and broken leg are healing, the traumatic effects of the small-plane crash that killed his parents and sister have left him unable to speak. Psychiatrists have told Finn that to regain the power of speech he must relive each step of the tragedy. Now living with his grandmother on her Vermont farm where he has vacationed all his life and which he loves, he cannot make himself face the horrors of the fatal accident.

Renewing his friendship with Julia, nearly fourteen, helps. A nearby neighbor, she comes each day to train Gran's new filly. Together, they discover animal -- half wolf, half dog -- living wild in a dense pine forest on the farm, and it slowly begins to trust Finn after he rescues it from a trap. The routine of their lives is jolted when Finn and Julia discover that drug dealers are using an abandoned dry well in the forest as a, drop for their supplies. Then one day, when Julia is away for a week, Finn finds a packet of cocaine carelessly dropped by a local pusher. Should he try it to gain escape from the torment of his memories? And can he and Julia save the wolfdog that is

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-9. Traumatized by a plane crash that killed everyone in his family, 15-year-old Finn undergoes a self-imposed silence from which he refuses to be delivered. Memories of the fiery accident replay with ever-increasing detail, even after Finn moves to his grandmother's Vermont farm and is reunited with Julie, a compassionate friend from his early childhood. Rescuing a wounded wolf-dog in the woods and then discovering a stash of cocaine in an abandoned well push Finn out of his crippling internal struggle and into a tense dilemma about the drug dealers that may force him to speak in order to save his few remaining loved ones. Finn's inner conflict is a palpable one. With keen detail, Bacon draws readers into Finn's tragic circumstance by replaying just enough of the plane crash to keep it vivid and interesting throughout the novel. Although some of the dialogue seems inauthentic, and not all the characters are consistently believable, Finn's internal and external struggles draw compassion and offer concurrent plots that should keep readers engaged. --Roger Leslie

Publisher's Weekly Review

Beginning just after a fatal airplane crash and ending shortly after a nearly disastrous forest fire, this tense novel about a teenage survivor will attract both adventure buffs and fans of psychological drama. When 15-year-old Finn moves to his grandmother's (Gram's) farm in Vermont, his severe injuries, resulting from a plane crash that killed the rest of his family, are no more painful than his emotional turmoil. Although his therapist insists he must "walk through" each step of the tragic accident in order to recover his power of speech (he suffers from posttraumatic mutism), Finn consciously attempts to shut out recurring, horrific memories. Finn's misery lessens when his sister's friend Julia, an accomplished equestrian and dancer, enters the scene. Together, the pair befriend a wolf-dog blamed for recent sheep slayings, and happen upon a stash of cocaine left in a well on Gram's property by a ring of drug dealers. When Julia is caught by one of them, Finn is forced to take action. Bacon's (Pip and Emma; Shadow and Light) less than subtle writing leaves little to the imagination (e.g., "From years of watching TV and reading mystery novels Julia knew that witnesses to crime were doomed"), but her montage of heart-racing scenes and complex rendering of Finn will keep the pages turning. Ages 10-14. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-It's clearly the good guys vs. the bad guys in this overly dramatic story about Finn, 15, who returns to Vermont to live with his grandmother after he is the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed his parents and sister. Gram and a neighbor, Julie, are his only friends as he recovers from the trauma of the accident. Another plot involves three local drug dealers who use his grandmother's property for drop-offs. Julie and Finn learn what's going on, and Julie's life is threatened. Yet another story line involves a wolf that threatens local animals. Bacon does a fine job of depicting Finn's pain and guilt after the death of his family. However, there is too much going on here. This drama also suffers from mediocre writing, stilted dialogue, and far too many dangling participles.-Linda Beck, Indian Valley Public Library, Telford, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.