Period 8 by Chris Crutcher
Period 8 follows a group of students who attend Mr. Logsdon’s (Logs) class known as Period 8. In Period 8 students can eat lunch, talk with one another, discuss issues and do whatever else they want as they are keeping it real and honest. The main character of the story is Paul Baum, and is known as “Paulie Bomb” by his peers for his strong physique, charming personality and his relationship with the equally charming Hannah. Paulie and Hannah’s powerhouse relationship ends after he cheats on her with another girl. Hannah thinks that Paulie is just like his father (constant adulterer in a struggling marriage) and ends their relationship. This is only the beginning of strange and upsetting events in Paulie’s life; Mary, the top student in the class has disappeared from school and home, Paulie’s best friend “Stack” has been acting very strange, and Mary’s family seems to be having strange secrets within their household. Paulie is on the verge of going crazy with the mass hysteria going on in his town. The only things that are keeping him sane are his nightly swims with his teacher/mentor Mr. Logsdon and their Period 8 class. Paulie thought nothing worse could happen to him than his break up with Hannah, but soon he finds out he could not be more wrong; after Mary returns from her strange disappearance there appears to be something wrong with her, very wrong, which raises suspicion of her, other classmates and other members of the community. Before too long Paulie, Mary, Hannah and the rest of period 8 will find themselves in more trouble than they could have ever imagined.
Period 8 is a well written story with very realistic feeling characters and a story line that sucks the reader into the book immediately. The main character Paulie is easy to like and almost seems too good to be true at certain points in the novel. The story goes along at a solid pace keeping the reader interested and builds suspense as it goes along. The main action in the story comes almost out of nowhere; the action feels rushed and ends before the reader even knows what happened. There is some adult language, sexual activity and drug use, but very little. The book jumps around from characters point of views from time to time but outside of this the story is very easy to follow and is a quick read. I would recommend this book to a high school, maybe even a later (16+ year old) audience. Not because of the little amount of language or sexual activity but because older high school students will be able to have a much better understanding of the main characters and their relationships, thus making it a much more interesting story to the reader.