Rat Life

Rat Life

by Tedd Arnold


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The dead body found in the river has nothing to do with Todd. Sure, a murder is big news, but what would really interest him? A paying job. Then he meets Rat, who's already been to Vietnam. And when he offers Todd a gig at the drive-in theater, Todd takes it. But hanging out with Rat leads to a host of perplexing questions. More and more, that corpse from the river is on Todd's mind, and no matter how he shifts the pieces around, Rat is always part of the puzzle.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142414316
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 08/06/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: HL550L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Tedd Arnold  is the author of such children's classics as  No Jumping on the Bed! and No More Water in the Tub! He has published more than 50 books as author and illustrator. He has received  The Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor for I Spy Fly Guy and has won The Edgar Award for his Young Adult Novel, Rat Life.

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Rat Life 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Todd is an aspiring writer and the events that he is part of during 1972 certainly lend themselves to his stories. During an incident that haunts Todd when a stray dog he had tried to protect gets struck by a truck, his path crosses with a slightly older boy named Rat. To say Rat has had a difficult life would be an understatement. He has abusive, often absent parents and a mom who arranged for him to serve in Vietnam when he was just 14! Todd is interested in Rat and wants to really understand this mysterious kid who seems to somehow be linked with a dead body found in the river. This book, with its short chapters and layered storytelling, was a quick read that was as much an exploration of character and story telling as it was a mystery.
ohioyalibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great mystery, great writing, humor; I couldn't put it down. Great book for boys.
tlwood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At 14, Todd is largely unaffected by the Vietnam War being fought so far away from his New Jersey life where he works at the family motel and spends his free time entertaining himself and his friends with his writing. With a bit of encouragement from his English teacher about his writing potential, Todd becomes more aware of the many ¿stories¿ all around him. He eventually meets Rat, who is just slightly older than Todd, but who has already served time in Vietnam. Todd is fascinated with Rat, and as they share experiences and conversation, Todd begins to suspect that Rat may be involved in the mysterious murder of a dead man found in the river. The story is engaging and engrossing with the descriptive elements, as well as the action. Todd¿s consciousness of bigger issues, like the war and family abuse and neglect, grows as the truth begins to unfold.
jwcooper3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can see how this won the Best Young Adult Edgar Award in 2008. The writing is tight; the type of craftsmanship that makes writing look easy. The mystery is not all that mysterious but then it's not meant to be. The star here are the three-dimensional characters and the intertwining relationships.Arnold, known primarily for his picture books, turns 180 degrees with this tale; it's dark and oft-times presents disturbing images. While geared toward a young adult audience, this is not Harry Potter. It is a clever, well drawn slice of life with characters that will stick with the reader throughout the journey.
Kaybowes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Historical fiction mystery -- main character meets weird guy named Rat who has just returned from Vietnam. Dead man shows up in river. Todd thinks maybe Rat killed him. Nitty gritty life from poor give Todd lots of things to write about in his English class.Good for list.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Todd is a writer, and it is his writing that pulls the reader into the story right away as he struggles to find the right first line to start his tale. Rat Life grips the reader from the very beginning and doesn't let go until the end. When Todd meets Rat, there is just enough mystic behind Rat's character to make you ask - where did he come from, how old is he, and what's his story. Rat Life is hard to put down, and has a very satisfying but unexpected conclusion.
Reif_Reviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rat Life, the 2008 winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery, is set in a small town in New York. The main character, an eighth grader named Todd, is an aspiring writer who works for his parents at the motel they own and operate. While trying to help a lost dog avoid getting hit by a cement truck, Todd is bitten and has possibly contracted rabies. It is during this suspenseful incident that Todd meets Rat, a boy a bit older than himself who is an isolated loner. Rat lives on the outskirts of town behind a drive-through movie theater. Rat convinces Todd to take a part-time job at the drive-in. While working together, Rat and Todd begin to form a friendship - of sorts - one with boundaries, as Rat has painful secrets that effect him deeply, and he's unwilling to share. When a dead body is found in the river, Todd becomes intrigued by the mystery; shortly before the body was discovered he found a baseball cap in nearly the same location on the riverbank. The police are unable to identify the body and have no clues as to killer's identity. But, Todd might.Todd gradually learns more about his friend Rat and ultimately pieces together a connection between Rat's drug addicted mother, his abusive father, and the murder victim before the police are able to. In the intense climax to the novel, Todd confronts Rat at his home while the river has broken it's bank and a flash flood is encroaching on the small town. In a quick series of events, Todd arrives at Rat's home to discover the door wide open, and a dead man laying just inside. After Rat unexpectedly points a gun on Todd, both boys are swept away by the flood waters. Rat is knocked unconscious and Todd struggles to hold both of their heads above water while they are swept along with the raging torrent. Almost to the point of exhaustion, Todd is able to grab onto the edge of a stone bridge and hold his and Rat's faces out of the water while it pounds against them. Just as he is overcome with weakness and about to let go, Todd hears a voice behind him and the boys are rescued by a man in a small boat and taken to the hospital. At the hospital, the boys unravel the mystery of the two murders and Rat's connection to both victims.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Today I met the author at my school. Every year my school has an author come in an this year he came. I also got to be one of his volunteers for the demonstration of how his books got published. Go Tedd!!! Even though I didn't read this book I still know it is good. That is because Tedd Arnold wrote it. Thanks for the visit Tedd.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
at the beginning of this book, it was sort of, not tedious or boring, it just seemed to go on for a while with stuff i didn't think was important but in the end it all made sense. this book was great