Thursday, November 02, 2006
Rash by Pete Hautman
It is the late 21st century, safety regulations are out of control and small infractions of the law result in lengthy prison sentences spent working for corporations ranging from McDonald’s to waste treatment. Bo Marsten has trouble controlling his temper even with his daily dose of the drug Levulor. When the snaky Karlohs starts moving in on the girl Bo likes, he lashes out and is sentenced to 5 years making pizzas at a plant in the Canadian tundra. There the warden, Hammer, is running his own illegal football team and recruits Bo for his speed. Hammer arranges a grudge match with a neighboring plant threatening his team with becoming polar bear snacks if they can’t pull off a win. Despite the danger of being pummeled by the opposing team or fed to the bears, Bo can’t help but enjoy the chance to show off his natural athleticism and be part of a team for the first time.
A science fiction combination of Holes and the Gridiron Gang, this book has a lot going for it. There’s a dark look at a future society that values safety over freedom, violence, football, a quirky A.I. creation called Bork, humor, and some really great characters to meet. My favorite was Bo’s cellmate, Rhino, who is in prison for damaging his own health by overeating and is sentenced to stay until he loses 100 lbs. I will recommend this book to those who list Holes amongst their favorite books. Good for 7th grade and up.
p. 249 ISBN 0689868014