Cover image for Dangling
Eige, Lillian.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2001]

Physical Description:
166 pages ; 20 cm
Eleven-year-old Ben recalls his relationship with his unusual friend Ring, who walked into the river and disappeared one day.
Reading Level:
Ages 8-12.

660 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.5 4.0 49778.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.2 9 Quiz: 31858 Guided reading level: T.
Format :


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

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On a shimmery summer day, eleven-year-old Ben watches his too tall, bird-crazy best friend, Ring, wade into the river. Everyone else is laughing and talking on the riverbank, paying no mind. Ring turns and gives them all one last look -- and disappears.Day after agonizing day, Ben waits for news of his friend. In the meantime, he tries to sort out a jumble of thoughts and memories so he can get things straight in his head about Ring. From his outlandish stories to his evasiveness about his background, Ring has been a mystery from the first. But friends like Ring -- the kind who instinctively understand you -- don't come along every day, and Ben isn't about to give up on him...especially after he starts to do some investigating of his own. But if Ben dares to consider that Ring might not have drowned, new questions arise. For if Ring is still alive, where is he? And why did he leave in the first place?Lillian Eige's story of two boys who are desperate to trust each other, but are almost too scared to dare to, will leave you aglow with the strength of what a boy will do to protect the people he cares most about.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-6. "Dangling" is the perfect metaphor for how 11-year-old Ben feels the summer his best friend, Ring, disappears. Ben opens this poignant, first-person narrative on the day of the disappearance, then describes the events leading up to it. The boys have been picnicking with their families. Ring walks to a river and wades in, deeper and deeper, until he disappears under the water. Everyone watches for him to surface, knowing he can swim. But he never reappears. As Ben waits for news, sorting out his feelings, he learns about Ring. He didn't know Ring was a foster child, who often ran away, or that Ring's new foster parents, whom Ring liked, were planning to adopt him. Nor did he realize that Ring was too scared to trust his new luck so he staged his own disappearance. There's enough doubt about the outcome to generate substantial tension, and Eige's carefully drawn characters are vivid and memorable. Readers will find themselves caring as deeply for Ben as they do for Ring. --Shelley Townsend-Hudson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Eige (Cady) sets a mood of suspense from the outset with this taut psychological mystery. As the novel opens, 11-year-old Ben is out jogging and feels the presence of Ring, a peculiar but engaging neighborhood kid. But before the first chapter ends, readers learn that Ring has turned Ben's life upside down by vanishing into a river during a shared family outing. Set in a small Midwestern town, Ben's first-person account, told largely through flashbacks, recreates the mosaic of events that brings Ring's disappearance into focus: his sudden arrival in town, his apocryphal stories of a friend named Fox, and his oblique references to hiding as a way to stay safe. After a bumpy beginning, due to awkward shifts between present and past tense, Eige movingly narrates Ben's concern and affection for his new friend, while portraying his struggle to make sense of his own quirky family life. The author creates enough tension around Ring's disappearance and Ben's gradual piecing together of clues to keep readers hooked. The narrative sheds light on the boys' mutual struggle to be both independent and connected to fragile family ties. Ages 8-12. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-The power of friendship, both to complete and to bereave, is strongly evoked in this mood piece that works on the broadest level but falters in the details. Ben has connected deeply and unexpectedly with mysterious, charismatic Ring, the new kid in town. Readers get to know Ring through flashbacks; the book opens just after he has waded into the river, dipped under the water, and not resurfaced. Ben looks back on their friendship as he waits for some sign that Ring is still alive, a chronology that isn't immediately apparent due to the use of the present tense for both past and present events. Scenes Ben remembers during the interminable wait provide a series of clues that match the final denouement, although numerous implausible plot elements hinder the wrap-up. Ring's river disappearance, on which the story hangs, is explained away by a vague reference to swimming underwater. Other plot underpinnings are also shaky, including wildly improbable social-service scenarios. Those willing to overlook the carelessly constructed bits and pieces will find a worthwhile exploration of the complexities of love, friendship, and belonging.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.