Last Night I Sang to the Monster
by Saenz, Benjamin Alire

Eighteen-year-old Zach does not remember how he came to be in a treatment center for alcoholics, but through therapy and caring friends, his amnesia fades and he learns to face his past while working toward a better future.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a novelist, poet, essayist and writer of children's books. He has received the Wallace Stegner Fellowship, the Lannan Fellowship and an American Book Award. He teaches at the University of Texas at El Paso, and considers himself a fronterizo, a person of the border.

At 18, Zach can only remember little pieces of his past life. This is partly due to the alcohol abuse that has landed him in a rehab facility. But it is, in larger part, due to something so terrible having happened to him that he has repressed his memories of it. In the process it has become like a monster inside him, so frightful he can't expel it by himself. Fortunately he finds two caring adults-his therapist, Adam, and his roommate (and fellow alcoholic), Rafael-who struggle to help him with the work of remembering and recovering. Some readers may be put off by the slow pace of Senz's story, and the author's language and sensibility sometimes veer dangerously close to bathos. But there is never a question of either Senz's own extraordinary capacity for caring and compassion or the authenticity of the experiences he records in this heartfelt account of healing and hope. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Zach is full of words: An artist lives inside him. He loves reading, and some time ago he wished to be a good student, but now he only knows silence. Zach is brilliant, but he is confused, lonely and hopeless. He did not choose his alcoholic father, his depressive mother and his abusive brother. He wanted to escape from a house that was not a home anymore, from the monster that appears in his dreams, from his memories, nightmares and imaginary conversations. One day Zach wakes up in Cabin 9, bed 3, at a rehabilitation center. He does not want to remember how he got there; he just wants to forget. Zach's first-person voice is compelling and heartbreaking.Senz' poetic narrative will captivate readers from the first sentence to the last paragraph of this beautifully written novel, which explores the painful journey of an adolescent through the labyrinth of addiction and alcoholism. It is also a celebration of life and a song of hope in celebration of family and friendship, one that will resonate loud and long with teens. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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