Monday, August 15, 2011

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

There are two things you need to know about 17-year-old Michael. 1/He is a boxman: he can break into any safe any where any time. 2/He never speaks. Ever. When Michael was just 8, a traumatic event resulted in the death of his mother, his father, and his voice. Ten years later, Michael is imprisoned when his talent for lockpicking is discovered by some unsavory classmates and he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thankfully, a bought (the guilty classmates aren't charged) yet lenient judge sentences Michael to do community service at the home of the man whose house was broken into. There, he meets the man's daughter, Amelia. She is a fellow artist, lost girl, and muse. Is there anything as sadly sweet as two people falling in love via surreptitiously and strategically placed hand-drawn comics that tell their respective tragic histories? Although TLA is billed as a thriller, for me, it is ultimately a story about the redemptive power of first love. Don't miss the Cake Show review, which is perfect for booktalks. Click here to see Steve Hamilton talk about what inspired TLA , and here to watch him accept the Edgar award. Grade 9+