Joel's friend Tony is always talking him into doing risky things. Joel likes to be more cautious, but he has to admit that Tony is an exciting friend to have. When Tony wants to climb the bluffs at Starved Rock State Park, however, Joel thinks Tony has gone too far. Someone died climbing the bluffs last year. When Tony stops at the river on the way to the park, Joel thinks he can avoid disaster if they stop to swim instead. Joel doesn't realize that Tony cannot swim and that the river has powerful currents. When the worst possible outcome occurs, it's up to Joel to face the consequences. How can he admit what happened when he promised, on his honor, that he would be responsible? The book handles difficult and potentially upsetting subject matter, and may be a title that families will want to discuss together.
Awards won: Newbery Honor 1987
Date read: 2/24/2010