Cover image for All that remains
All that remains
Brooks, Bruce.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2001]

Physical Description:
168 pages ; 19 cm
Three novellas explore the effects of death on young lives.
Reading Level:
850 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.5 5.0 50401.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.2 9 Quiz: 25446 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


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

On Order



Cousins conspire to circumvent state burial laws when their beloved aunt dies of AIDS, and come up with a fiendishly clever plan to keep her out of a pauper's grave.A slick teen takes his very unhip cousin under his wing -- to make a man of him -- after reluctantly making a promise to his dying uncle to do so, and finds out a lot about being true to oneself in the meantime.A trio of golfers must take on a fourth player -- a girl, no less -- who surprises them by having a fabulous drive, despite the fact that she refuses to take off her backpack. But that doesn't begin to match their shock when they find out what her backpack contains. Can three strangers help her let go of her past? Is there magic in a foursome?Astonishing, shocking, and mesmerizing, each story in this collection is singular unto itself, but they all work together in the exploration of how people react to tragedy when it strikes...and how they deal with what's left behind. A daring, thought-provoking collection as only two-time Newbery Honor award-winner Bruce Brooks could write it.

Author Notes

Bruce Brooks was born in Richmond, Virginia on September 23, 1950. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1972 and from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop in 1980. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer, newsletter editor, movie critic, teacher and lecturer.

He has written several children's books including Everywhere, Midnight Hour Encores, Asylum for Nightface, Vanishing, No Kidding, and Throwing Smoke. He has received the Newbery Honor twice, first for The Moves Make the Man in 1985 and then for What Hearts in 1992.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. In this trio of novellas, Brooks' trademark razor-sharp wit illuminates tales of death and earthly remains. Despite the topic, there is nothing ghoulish or creepy here. Clever wordplay and gallows humor bring a new dimension to death and how we deal with it. In one story, cousins conspire to cremate their beloved aunt (who has just died of AIDS) in a potter's kiln to circumvent laws that would put her in a pauper's grave. The most conventional story follows a slick, hip teen who takes his decidedly uncool cousin under his wing to keep a promise made to a dying uncle. The final story is a gem: a lone girl, laden with backpack, insists on joining a trio of young male golfers and blows them away with her talent. The contents of her backpack, however, are even more surprising than her sudden presence. Touching on AIDS, homophobia, popularity, hockey, and golf, these surprising, clever, and poignant stories show Brooks at his best. --Debbie Carton

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this trilogy of stories, teen protagonists contend with the "remains" of a recently deceased loved one. "Although all of the tales center around a death, they are surprisingly life-affirming as they reveal the many faces of grief," said PW. "The author's three distinct mood pieces join to create a unified requiem." Ages 12-up. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-In three stories, Brooks forays into new and challenging territory with what he calls "a more dicey aspect of my humor" and with "more peculiar subjects and shadows." Death, and the reaction to it, is at the heart of each narrative. In the title story, two cousins react to the death of their ostracized aunt by plotting with her partner, a ceramic artist, to have her cremated in defiance of state AIDS statutes. Her body, to be collected by state health workers, is substituted with the remains of a deer encased in a clay sarcophagus, while she is cremated in the artist's kiln. In "Playing the Creeps," Hank's uncle, on his deathbed, asks the teen to look after his son, Bobby, and to direct him toward more manly interests. In the process, Hank, ironically, begins to appreciate Bobby's talents, and in the end they blend their musical interests into an inspiring partnership. The final story, "Teeing Up," focuses on a girl trying to hold on to the memory of her father. Carrying his cremated remains in her backpack, she joins some boys in a round of golf. Their interactions, antagonistic at first, develop into a friendship as they convince her to leave his ashes in the sand traps. All three stories feature witty and interesting dialogue. The characters are well drawn and the stories are powerful, albeit a bit macabre and disturbing. Brooks challenges readers with an assortment of themes including loyalty, acceptance, friendship, and defiance of stereotypes.-Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.