THE PRICKER BOY, by Reade Scott Whinnem (Random House 2009)(12+). In THE PRICKER BOY, Whinnem deftly captures adolescent angst, night terrors, and our atavistic fear of the dark forest.
Fourteen-year-old Stucks Cumberland and his friend Pete live year-round at Tanner Pond. But every year, their friends Vivek, Emily, Ronnie, and Stucks's cousin Robin arrive for a summer of fun, swimming, and campfire stories amidst the hawthorne woods.
And every year, they know better than to go into the woods beyond the Widow's Stone, where dwells the Pricker Boy, creature of the thorns. Until now...
THE PRICKER BOY is an intensely compelling and creepy novel. Stucks and his friends and family are lively, fascinating, and sometimes surprising. Highly recommended.