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Holdup by Terri Fields


by Terri Fields

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I found this book highly frustrating.

The use of multiple perspectives works to start with, but then that whole technique is abandoned. More then half the book is spent setting up characters, the kids who work at Burger Heaven and even the robber and his accomplice, and then when we finally get to the robbery (page 90 of 170 page book) we're introduced to a police officer with no back story

Sara, one of the workers, has to be one of the most annoying characters ever. She, like, says, like, like, every, like, second. And it's not even written in the way someone would use that word. She gets shot, and I was surprised she didn't say "Help me, I'm, like, dying!" but she does come close, whilst bleeding on the floor she begs to the robber. "I SO need help." And then post the robbery, she's interviewed and has absolutely nothing of importance to say.

Random characters are introduced (Keith) for no apparent reason, no relationships are tied up, no conclusions are reached, the ending is cliched and so obvious it made me laugh, but if you want a quick read that doesn't engage you, pick this one up. ( )
  littleton_pace | Dec 28, 2011 |
Holdup, an exciting and humorous novel that gives the opinions and points of view of high school students who are facing many difficult life situations and are trying to find a positive resolve. These teens face a number of choices and decisions they can take to turn their life around, one of which, Dylan, chooses the life of a delinquent. However this certain person is not just a backstreet hooligan, he is an academically talented young man, and his I.Q is that of a genius. He uses his intellect to his advantage by carefully plotting and planning his attempts at robbery. His actions will soon prove to be a major turning point for all of these young adults.

While Dylan's plans are unfolding, other high school students are going about their lives, unintentionally becoming more and more infatuated with Dylan's most important scheme. A major role in this scheme is Joe. Joe has found out that his classmates think of him as a white wall in need of a splash of color. To change the way he is looked upon, he invites a girl of interest to come see his Truck. His problem is that he does not have a truck to show. He turns to his cousin, asking him if he might lend him his new truck. After his cousin refuses, he offers a proposition out of desperation. The deal is that Joe must get front row seats to a slayer concert- his cousin’s favorite band. Joe does not have this kind of money, and resorts to holding signs at passing cars for money to obtain his cash. Out of chance, Dylan, aliased Derrick, finds Joe and fakes sympathy, by saying he was in a similar situation and understands what he's dealing with. He tells Joe that he may use his truck, if he helps him propose to his girlfriend in a fast-food restaurant. This proposal ends up being a robbery attempt, and the students who gave their stories were all coincidentally involved in the robbery as hostages. The robbery ends with a gunshot, and Dylan escaping. A year after the robbery these students now reflect on the event that occurred a year ago, and how they changed their lives for the better. Holdup is a touching yet exciting and humorous read. Although its reading ages may be for teenagers, it is an overall great story, in which lessons can be learned from. ( )
  JovanH470Volny | Oct 26, 2011 |
Richie's Picks: HOLDUP by Terri Fields, Roaring Brook, April 2007, ISBN: 1-56343-219-5

This Saturday night's cast:

Jordan, a high school senior:

"I tried to keep it from happening, I really did, but when I said I didn't think I could manage so many Advanced Placement classes, my counselor shook her head. 'Jordan, don't you realize the difficulty of getting into a selective college?'...So now my supersized class load devours me every day. And every AP teacher warns, 'Don't even think of complaining about the homework. You signed up for this class!'...Trying to find a little breathing room, I told my parents that given my homework load, I didn't think I could manage an after-school job. My father frowned, reminding me, 'You're not a child any longer. Do you realize how much the kinds of colleges you're looking at will cost?'...And then there's basketball. When I said I didn't think I could play varsity this year with all my other commitments, my coach came unglued. 'Do you realize how much this team is counting on your shot?' "

It is supposed to be a Saturday off from Burger Heaven for Jordan, but when they are short-handed and the manager calls her in desperation, Jordan can't say no to coming in, nor to taking responsibility when the manager suddenly encounters a personal emergency and leaves Jordan in charge for the night.

Just before closing time on Saturday night Jordan will be at the front counter.


"If I had just, like, one chance for a do-over, I so know what it would be. I, for sure, would not have shoplifted that red skirt. I, like, wouldn't even have cared that it fit so perfect and was going to mean all eyes on me at Tommy R.'s party. I mean, not to exaggerate or anything, but I looked like a supermodel...Getting busted was like a nightmare in slow motion...I, like, kept seeing myself getting sent to that awful tent city for teens doing time on weekends. So, like, after a long lecture, when they finally said something about a second chance, I was ready to say yes to whatever it was...But I am so sure that I didn't really get it then that I'd be spending all my Saturday nights ringing up burgers and cleaning up after slobs."

Just before closing time on Saturday night Sara will angrily be cleaning up tables after slobs and trying to forget that she's got the next restroom check.


"I'm done waiting. I reach over to that beautiful [...] and grab a nice little pinch. I'm thinking she's thinking it feels pretty good.
"And then wham! A whole steel ketchup container slams into my head. Man, I can't see much, but what I'm seeing is all red. And I'm hoping it's just ketchup, but my head hurts something awful.
" So after my head gets bandaged, and the ketchup gets cleaned, the overall manager shows up. Not just the shift guy, but some big shirt. He yells at me about 'sexual harassment.' Says I better be on my knees she doesn't sue Burger Heaven, because if she sues, they don't have my back. "What about her wearing those tight pants?' I say."

Just before closing time on Saturday night Alex will be in the back at the grill, working alongside that girl in tight pants.


"Sometimes I have to smile at the stupidity of it all when I think of myself as a Burger Heaven employee. I mean, I'm a vegetarian who's entirely hung up on health. I believe you have to take care of yourself. If you don't, nobody else is going to do it for you. But here I am routinely handing out fat on a bun with a pathetic pickle and a wilted piece of lettuce as the meal's only vegetables."

Just before closing time on Saturday night Theresa will be in the back at the grill, working next to Alex, who, since that incident, is not even supposed to be on the premises when she is working there. But with being three employees short tonight and Jordan forced to be in charge...


"Burger Heaven's goal is one hundred and twenty seconds on the clock from the first punch on the register to the time the order is in the customer's hands. Only two minutes total, but I usually beat it. Nobody on the window is faster than me. If I can't pick out a regular by the sound of the engine, I've got the order going from the first glimpse of the car...Then, of course, there's Mrs. Wilkins. She never treats me like some sort of an automatic order taker. In fact, she not only knows I'm a senior, but she keep encouraging me to apply for college every time she's here. Once or twice, she even brought me some scholarship information. I've tried to tell her that I'm not going to college, but she only says, 'You never know. Think about it.' "

Just before closing time on Saturday night Manuel will be taking a well-deserved break and sitting in the one booth where angry Sara cannot see him and demand that he help with the preliminary shutdown procedures.

Mrs. Wilkins, an eighty-six year-old retired teacher and counselor:

"My daughter doesn't have to know everything I do. I don't remember asking her to be in charge of me. How could I have produced such a worrywart?...Sometimes, if the Burger Heaven playground is deserted, I sit inside in a bright-green booth and eavesdrop on the beginnings of budding romance, tearful talk, or shared gossip.
"Why can't my daughter understand that this place is good for me?"

Just before closing time on Saturday night Mrs. Wilkins is sitting in the obscured booth with a burger and Manuel, explaining to him the details of FAFSA scholarships.

Keith, developmentally disabled adolescent, just turned 18 today:

"Miss Simcor said I was growed up. She was proud of how much I had growed up in three years. She said I should be proud because I was going to graduate this year...I got home today. Mom wasn't there. But there was an envelope on the kitchen table. It said, 'To Keith.' I was happy. I knew what it was. It was a birthday card. My mom didn't forget this time!"

When Keith opens the card on Saturday, with his mom still gone, he learns that -- now that he's eighteen -- his mom has paid the last month's rent and enclosed some cash with the card before abandoning Keith to go off to live with her boyfriend in Mexico.

"Miss Simcor said people do special things for birthdays. I was going to ask my mom if we could go to Burger Heaven. It's my birthday. It's my favorite place.
"Especially because sometimes, there's this really nice girl there named Jordan, and she says hi to me. She says she doesn't like ketchup on her burgers, either."

Just before closing time on Saturday night Keith will be counting down the final blocks on his very long walk to celebrate his birthday at Burger Heaven.

Dylan (a.k.a. Derrick) a former high school student:

"Did Carter High's toothless teachers and powerless principal really believe they could control me? 'You're so smart, Dylan,' they said. 'You cannot keep breaking the rules,' they said. Well, they were right about some of it. I am extremely smart...My well-orchestrated robbery is supposed to take place tonight, and that is not going to work correctly without my partner...I've already committed the money from it to a midnight meeting, and I will honor that commitment tonight...Thus, I need only to locate one unquestioning follower within the next few hours to complete my plan.
"Actually, I believe it was Goethe who said that magic is believing in yourself, and if you can do that, you can make anything happen. Thus, I have no doubt that I will find my unquestioning follower, and my life will proceed exactly as planned."


During last period chem class, while paired up with her at a lab station, Joe gets up the courage to ask out Alicia, the incredible-looking new girl at school. But he promises to show up at her house in a new truck he doesn't own -- he's actually described to her his cousin Jesse's new truck. In order to borrow the truck, he must now immediately acquire the money necessary to purchase an unbelievably expensive concert ticket from a scalper and then trade Jesse the ticket for use of the truck.

"Cars begin to zip by me, and I hold my sign up, facing the traffic. Unbelievable. I am actually panhandling for money. At least I didn't lie. I mean, my sign doesn't say I'm homeless or anything. And I do need help. Maybe this'll be one of those stories like my dad and his old buddies talk about after a couple of beers when they remember the good old days of high school. Until this moment, I didn't have even one crazy or wild high school story to tell. I will now."

Just like one of those high school chem experiments, where you pour in a bunch of stuff and it all suddenly begins to crystallize, this cast of characters will reach critical mass at 10 PM on Saturday night. ( )
  richiespicks | May 27, 2009 |
Wish they got to the crime quicker, maybe spent more time w/ it but should work for RR ( )
  Mtnpersei | Jul 23, 2008 |
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Diverse teens each react differently to a busy shift at a Phoenix, Arizona, Burger Haven on a hectic Saturday night that culminates in a show-down with two armed robbers.

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