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What They Always Tell Us [Paperback]

Martin Wilson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 4.71
Price: 4.66 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 Feb 2010
JAMES AND ALEX have barely anything in common anymore—least of all their experiences in high school, where James is a popular senior and Alex is suddenly an outcast. But at home, there is Henry, the precocious 10-year-old across the street, who eagerly befriends them both. And when Alex takes up running, there is James’s friend Nathen, who unites the brothers in moving and unexpected ways.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers (9 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385735081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385735087
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 13.3 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story of love and friendship 27 Mar 2011
By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER
James, a high school senior, intelligent and a leading member of the school tennis team, popular at school, his main concern this year is acceptance at his chosen college. He is starting to tire of his home town Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and beginning to see his friends for what they really are, the good or the shallow. He looks forward to next year and making a new start in a new place.

Alex, a high school junior, a year younger than his brother James, bright without excelling like James, now almost friendless following the near fatal and embarrassing incident of his own making at a party at the beginning of term. His one friend is Henry, the weird ten year old lad with vivid red hair from across the street.

Since Alex's incident relations between him and James have been rather awkward, although not as bad as between Alex and his old friends all of whom have deserted him. The story follows the two boys over the course of the academic year: James' guilt at the rift that has developed between his brother, Alex's growing friendship with Henry, James' girlfriends, and Alex being befriended by James' Nathan who persuades to him join the the cross country team.

Nathan, another senior, is Alex's saviour in more ways than one. Nathan's father is from India, his mother English; a close friend of James he is kind, caring and gentle; the occasion he meets Alex when they are both out running marks the start of a new friendship, and for Alex a very different one when eventually Nathan very gently and tenderly seduces him in the showers, much to Alex's delight - the two boys embark on close, intimate but secret relationship.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars what they always tell us 6 April 2011
By Ali
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So, two sibling who have drifted apart. Cliché, right? Right. I'd agree with that statement. But for some reason, I really enjoyed this book and the cliché didn't bother me at all. It's a testament to Wilson's storytelling and writing that a book where not an awful lot happens outside of the two main characters and their relationship with each other is so very readable. I think that it helps that the story is told from alternative viewpoints each chapter and that weeks can go past between sections. This passing of time helps with the readability and keeps the novel concise at not even three hundred pages.

James is the older brother, a straight A student with athletic talent (tennis, not football. HURRAH!), who is greatly looking forward to leaving the boring town he grew up in, where everyone knows everyone else's business. In particular, he wants to leave behind the incident concerning his brother.

Alex, on the other hand, is an average student living in the shadow of James. He is ostracised by all of his schoolmates, and his brother, after drinking Pine Sol at a party in a botched suicide attempt. The only friends he has for most of the book are Henry, the ten year old from across the street, and Nathen, James's friend and Alex's running mate.

The two main characters were incredibly well written, both with their issues. I didn't always like the characters or their behaviour but nor did I hate them. I understood why carried out such actions, particularly James's failure on several occasions to stand up for Alex. The character growth and development was well done and not over-written.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book. 4 Feb 2011
By Steve
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not just a great coming out story. It taps perceptively and movingly into family relationships and Martin Wilson uses a clever idea to do so. Brothers James and Alex may have a seemingly disfunctional relationship following Alex's suicide attempt. But the emotional dislocation of their ten-year old neighbour, Henry, who does not know who his own father is, feeds an unconscious realisation that their own awkward relationship, and a classically teenage intolerance of their parents, are nonetheless rooted in the security of abiding love. And it is that stability that allows Alex to develop his attraction and love for his friend Nathen without guilt, albeit not without pain. Wilson conveys brilliantly the ability of James and Alex to feel profoundly while not having the experience to analyse and categorise what it is they are feeling. He is also pitch-perfect in his portrayal of the parents who, to their sons, are irritating and embarassing but whose unfailing love and support are as essential as it they are unacknowledged, save by the occasional subtle but significant gesture. This understatement of emotion is one of the book's most attractive traits. Let's hope Martin Wilson's first book is not his last.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read - American teen love story 12 Oct 2013
By Kurt
Had a good read from the beginning to the end.
The author is a good one i think because there's no rush to the end, the rhythm of it is just steady.

Quite liked the way he did to the ending.

I give it a 4 star because it is a teen story, which is supposedly too romantic and not quite realistic and lack of a bit of adult colour.
But it is a good story and book.

BTW, teens in this book didn't have mobile phones to use, which reminded me of my old time as a 'mobileless' teenager. Haha.
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