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Ultimatum
Cover of Ultimatum
Ultimatum
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From the author of Cracked and Empty comes a gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must make the ultimate decision about what's more important: family or their differences.It's not Oscar's...
From the author of Cracked and Empty comes a gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must make the ultimate decision about what's more important: family or their differences.It's not Oscar's...
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  • From the author of Cracked and Empty comes a gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must make the ultimate decision about what's more important: family or their differences.

    It's not Oscar's fault he's misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he's been disrespected by his father and bullied by his self-absorbed older brother, so he withdraws from his fractured family, seeking refuge in his art.

    Vance wishes his younger brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother's death without Oscar getting all emotional. At least when Vance pushes himself in lacrosse and parties, he feels alive.

    But when their father's alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two brothers must come face-to-face with their demons—and each other—if they are going to survive a very uncertain future.

About the Author-

  • K.M. Walton is the author of Cracked, Empty, and Ultimatum. As a former middle-school teacher, she's passionate about ending bullying, and her powerful presentations have made an impact on thousands. K.M. is a graduate of West Chester University. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two sons, and cat. Visit her at kmwalton.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 16, 2017
    In this psychologically intense novel from Walton (Empty), two estranged brothers face a decision that could bring them together or push them even further apart. Most of the book takes place over the span of two days as Oscar, an introverted high school student, and Vance, his hard-partying older brother, keep vigil over their dying father in hospice. When he dies, the boys will be orphans. Misunderstood and verbally abused by both Vance and his father, Oscar is filled with bitterness. Vance, who has recently blown a chance to make his father proud, is filled with regret. As their father’s condition worsens, the boys look ahead to a dim future. Should they go their separate ways or make amends? Saturated with emotion, Walton’s story is told through the brothers’ internal monologues. Oscar reflects on events as they occur while Vincent’s thoughts return to significant moments that include his father’s drinking problem, his mother’s accidental death (or was it suicide?), and his frustration with Oscar. It’s a heart-wrenching portrait of a dysfunctional family and its destructive force. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2017
    Two brothers watch over their father during his last days while looking toward an uncertain future.When Oscar and Vance's father gets in a car accident, the doctors discover that his alcoholism is destroying his liver and warn him that he must stop drinking. But he doesn't, and now his sons, both white, are staying near his bedside at the hospice to make sure they're with him when he dies. Artistic, quiet Oscar and lacrosse-playing, boisterous Vance couldn't be more different, though, and instead of coming together, they're still fighting. It doesn't help that their mother died in a car accident three years earlier after a terrible fight with their father. How will their family work with half of it missing? However, grief can do strange things to a family. Will it rip them apart or pull them closer than ever before? Walton creates flawed, realistic characters that invite readers to root for them even as they screw up their own lives and the lives of those around them. The back-and-forth structure told in alternating voices (Oscar's in the present and Vance's recounting the past) is accomplished and offers a deep look at the complex relationship between two brothers. Although the plot and dialogue can feel manufactured and simplistic, characters and story are compelling. A sweet look at an end-of-life moment that offers surprise even as the inevitable unfolds. (Fiction. 14-17)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-Radically different brothers Oscar and Vance must contend with their father's impending death and the alcoholism and abusiveness that preceded it. After their mother's death, artistic Oscar blocks out his father's escalating drinking and builds a wall for himself, retreating into silence and focusing on the drawings of his family that he keeps hidden. Meanwhile, popular, outgoing Vance, critical of Oscar's introversion, seems to idolize his hard-partying father, embracing his crudeness and often dismissing the severity of his father's addiction and declining health. Written in the first person from Oscar's and Vance's points of view, the chapters alternate between the brothers waiting out the end of their father's life, after his drinking sends him into liver failure, and recollections of the three years that have passed since their mother's death. The shift in time periods and perspective gives readers an understanding of how this family's tragedy has created and sustained the brothers' antipathy toward each other and how they must work their way out of it if they are to remain a family after their father dies. This smart, emotional, and surprising read is recommended for those who like to keep a tissue box nearby or those living with similar issues. VERDICT This well-done portrayal of sibling relationships during hardship belongs on most YA shelves.-Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publishers Weekly "Saturated with emotion . . . a heart-wrenching portrait of a dysfunctional family and its destructive force"

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