Candlewick Press

January 2014

$24.99 AU

122p hc

ISBN: 978-0763662288

Coaltown Jesus

Ron Koertge

from Walker Books Australia...

Walker shouldn't have been so surprised to find Jesus standing in the middle of his bedroom. After all, he'd prayed for whoever was up there to help him, and to help his mom, who hadn't stopped crying since Noah died two months ago. But since when have prayers actually been answered? And since when has Jesus been so... irreverent? But as astounding as Jesus's sudden appearance is, it's going to take more than divine intervention for Walker to come to terms with his brother's sudden death. Why would God take seventeen-year-old Noah when half of the residents in his mom's nursing home were waiting to die? And why would He send Jesus to Coaltown, Illinois, to pick up the pieces? 

In a spare, weighty, and often humorous text, renowned poet Ron Koertge tackles some of life's biggest questions-and humanises the divine saviour in a way that highlights the divinity in all of us.

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Coaltown Jesus written by Ron Koertge, is a beautifully crafted novel, told in free verse. Although it is only a quick read, it still contains strong emotions and fits into the genre of teen issues and dealing with loss. Coaltown Jesus follows the story of a 14 year-old boy, Walter, who has lost his brother, Noah, two months ago. Both Walker and his single mum are finding it hard to cope with Noah’s death, and find themselves upset every day. It seems that all Walter can do is to pray to whoever is in the sky to help his mum and stop her from crying all the time. One day, his prayers are answered and a witty Jesus is standing in the middle of his room.

Throughout the novel philosophical issues are touched on and Biblical references are made, with humour. Packed with strong metaphors, this novel is suitable for teenagers and adults. The free verse format of this novel, adds more depth and meaning to the whole text, and makes it more than a regular novel. Overall, Ron Koertge, has successfully produced a free verse novel that is humorous yet meaningful.

Sevin, age 15

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