Every student at Saskatoon Collegiate knew that all the most important aspects of school life were controlled by a secret club called Shadow Council. Each fall, Shadow held a traditional lottery during which a single student's name was drawn. The rest of the student body called the student the lottery winner. But Shadow Council knew better; to them the winner was the lottery victim. Whatever the label, the fated student became the Council's go-fer, delivering messages of doom to selected targets. In response, the student body shunned the lottery winner for the entire year. This year's victim was fifteen-year-old Sally Hanson.
Canadian author Goobie (Before Wings) takes Shirley Jackson's classic short story "The Lottery" and transposes it to a YA problem novel; the results are intriguing in spots, but the happy ending lacks the original's impact. While the principal and teachers look the other way, the Shadow Council (aka "S.C.") rules Sally Hanson's high school, targeting other students for exceptionally cruel pranks. Every year, S.C. holds a lottery, and the "winner," delegated as S.C.'s messenger to fresh victims, will be wholly shunned by the student body. The dreaded role falls to Sally, and the attendant trauma and confusion compound Sally's mysterious problems (toward the end of the novel, readers learn that she was in the car with her alcoholic father when he fatally crashed seven years earlier and that she has felt responsible for his death). Playing pivotal parts in this dense drama are Sal's older brother who, along with his best friend, has a dark past history with S.C. (this, too, emerges at the end); a double-amputee fellow clarinetist in the school band; a mysterious classmate who turns out to be autistic; and the chameleon-like S.C. president, who plays first trumpet in the band and asks Sal to help him perform the duet he has composed. Though burdened by heavy-handed symbolism and extraneous detail, the novel raises potentially provocative questions about free choice, self-knowledge and guilt. Ages 12-up.
I LOVE this book. I have read it like 3 this week. It is good if you need a book just to read.📚📖
From start to finish the book was enticing. I couldn't say no to just one page.