The 10 P.m. Question
The 10 P.m. Question
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Annotation: Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons has a quirky family, a wonderful best friend, and a head full of worrying questions that he shares with his mother each night, but when free-spirited Sydney arrives at school with questions of her own, Frankie is forced to face the ultimate ten p.m. question.
Catalog Number: #4487237
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2010
Pages: 245 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7636-4939-2
ISBN 13: 978-0-7636-4939-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2009049726
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Twelve-year-old Frankie is the anxious youngest son in a quirky, loving, extended family, but its rich culture of jokes and rituals cannot quite compensate for Frankie's mother's (unnamed) agoraphobia. A new friend, the bold and outspoken Sydney, opens Frankie to the possibility of change--and the delicate hint of romance. This New Zealand import is witty, delightfully rambling, iconoclastic, and deeply moving.
Kirkus Reviews
A talented artist and observer of birds, 12-year-old New Zealander Frankie has always been friends with his pal Gigs. Their vividly imagined world includes a secret language shared by the two boys, which they use to talk about events around them even as some of their concerns shift from those of childhood to adolescence. However, it takes the introduction of new girl Sydney, spectacularly confident and full of kind curiosity, to broach the single topic never discussed by anyone—why Frankie's gentle, Russian-novelreading mom never goes outside their house. De Goldi has created in Frankie a character as real, vulnerable and endearing as any that exist in print. His relationships with each of his family members—from the father everyone calls Uncle George to the brother whose dog is named after The Kinks' frontman Ray Davies—are filled with loving detail and wild humor. Gorgeously written, this bittersweet chronicle of family complexities is wise but never pat—a masterful meditation on anxiety and courage that will be savored by thoughtful readers. (Fiction. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 6&11;8&12; Aside from being a nervous wreck and hypochondriac, 12-year-old Frankie thinks his life in New Zealand is pretty normal. He and his friend Gigs love cricket, swimming, and making up their own language. When a new girl enters his class, though, he begins to question everything. Sydney is a carefree soul who has been in 22 schools because her mother moves a lot. She is loud, doesn't care what others think of her, and is constantly asking questions. As he gets to know her, Frankie learns that Sydney's mother may be a prostitute who leaves Sydney oftentimes alone to care for her younger siblings. This infuriates him and also forces him to think about his own unusual home life, which includes his mother having not left the house in nine years. Although rather slow moving in the beginning, this is an interesting and thoughtful coming-of-age story. What starts as a Stargirl -like character coming between the friendship of two boys becomes a moving tale about the challenges of family life and being different. The book is highly descriptive and a great deal of it is made up of Frankie's memories, which establish his character and give readers insight into his life. They will not only feel his anxiety, but also understand where it comes from. Each chapter ends with nightly discussions between him and his mother, which are both telling and rather beautiful. Ultimately, he is able to come to terms with and appreciate his family and learn that life can be good, even if it's not perfect.&12; Kerry Roeder, The Brearley School, New York City
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Twelve-year-old Frankie dreams of having his best friend Gigs' worry-free disposition. But in his family, Frankie feels like he is the only one who "bothers doing the thinking" about everything from grocery lists to smoke-alarm batteries, and nothing seems to quiet his internal "rodent voice . . . the perpetual bearer of unpalatable facts," once it gets rolling. Then irrepressible tomboy Sydney arrives at school and befriends Frankie almost against his will. Prompted by her brash charm, Frankie begins to follow Sydney's "book of wacko etiquette and, for once, talk straight and tough" about family mysteries, beginning with the most obvious and avoided question: Why does Ma never leave the house? An award-winning best-seller in New Zealand, where it was published in 2008, De Goldi's novel is an achingly poignant, wryly comic story of early adolescence that invites comparisons to works by authors as varied as Lynne Rae Perkins, Nick Hornby, and J. D. Salinger. Nearly every character, from Frankie's cheerfully sardonic teacher to the trio of pillowy, cigar-smoking aunties who give him sanctuary, is a loving, talented, unforgettable eccentric whose dialogue, much like De Goldi's richly phrased narration, combines heart-stopping tenderness with perfectly timed, deliciously zany humor. Readers from early teens through adults will be drawn to this beautifully nuanced, unsentimental view of family life, friendship, the heroic requirements of growing up, and the rewards of speaking the unspeakable out loud.
Voice of Youth Advocates
Is this rash fatal? Does the cat have worms and thus the family does too? Will Mom ever leave the house? The 10 p.m. Question may not answer these questions, but the author does provide a beautiful blend of eclectic imagination, an eccentric but loving family, and exceptional friends. This is an endearing story. If you enjoyed What’s Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges (Simon & Schuster, 1999), you will love this entertaining tale—it is a departure from the normal. Anxieties abound alongside a make-believe childhood language. There are even unusual character names layered with symbolism. The main character is Frankie, a twelve-year-old boy who worries all the time. Other family members include his hard-working dad called Uncle George; his colorful, extremely large “aunties”; and his stay–at-home mother, who has, in fact, stayed inside the family’s New Zealand home for more than nine years. What will the future bring for this loving, dysfunctional family? Perhaps the new girl at school, feisty Sydney, will shake things up. Or maybe best friend Gigs can pull Frankie out of another fatalistic frump before Frankie’s inner “rat” voice does him in. What is the answer to the 10 p.m. question? Perhaps it is that there is beauty in imperfection and all you need is love.—Madelene Rathbun Barnard. In The 10 p.m. Question, Di Goldi gives readers a heart-warming and hilarious story that touches readers in unexpected ways. Exuberant and lively characters like Sydney, Gigs, and Uncle George will keep you laughing, while family members Frankie and Ma will puzzle you. This novel reels you in . . . leaving you with a few 10 p.m. questions of your own. 4Q, 4P.—Angelina Barnard, Teen Reviewer.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (9/1/10)
Word Count: 71,994
Reading Level: 5.5
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.5 / points: 11.0 / quiz: 140797 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.4 / points:18.0 / quiz:Q51324
Lexile: 830L
Guided Reading Level: Z

Worry-prone Frankie keeps his family secret under control—until a bold, inquisitive girl enters his life—in this warm, witty, and captivating YA novel.

Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons is a talented kid with a quirky family, a best friend named Gigs, and a voice of anxiety constantly nibbling in his head: Could that kidney-shaped spot on his chest be a galloping cancer? Are the smoke alarm batteries flat? Has his cat, The Fat Controller, given them all worms? Only Ma, who never leaves home, takes Frankie’s worries seriously. But then, it is Ma who is the cause of the most troubling question of all, the one Frankie can never bring himself to ask. When a new girl arrives at school—a daring free spirit with unavoidable questions of her own—Frankie’s carefully guarded world begins to unravel, leading him to a painful confrontation with the ultimate 10 p.m. question. Deftly told with humor, poignancy, and an endearing cast of characters, The 10 P.M. Question will touch everyone who has ever felt set apart.

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