It takes me a while to read Sonya Hartnett for a couple of reasons. First, I think readers need to be "in a good place" when reading Hartnett. Her novels are dark and intense. But the bigger reason is that I prefer to read her books in shorter bursts so that I can more appreciate her writing style. There is a quote somewhere (and I am too lazy to look it up) that says some books are meant to be savored and others are meant to be gobbled up quickly. Hartnett is to be savored.
SURRENDER proves once again the literary prowess of Hartnett. It is no surprise that is was a Printz Honor winner. SURRENDER is the story of Anwell (aka Gabriel) and his relationship to the mysterious Finnigan, a creature who appears only at very intense times in Anwell's life. Generally, Finnegan's role is to exact revenge. Fires, vandalism, even murder are part and parcel of what Finnegan does for Anwell.
Of course, anyone familiar with Hartnett understands what is happening in this story. I wonder, though, if teen readers will come to this novel with the same level of understanding, Recently, a HORN BOOK article was critical of what the author termed "literary" novels, books the author notes win awards but are out of reach by the intended audience. While I deplore this idea that "literary" means inaccessible, I think I do agree that there are award winning books that will lack a teen audience or a child audience for that matter (THE GIVER is not a work for children; there are plenty of Newbery winners out of range for the audience for that award). Food for thought..