Book review by Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
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Common Sense says

age 10+

Authentic, nuanced tale of Brooklyn boy has lots of heart.

Parents say

age 9+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+

Based on 2 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 9+

adult-sized problems and dilemmas that kids can understand

I found the opening slow. But the problems, actions and dialogue eventually gripped me, and I couldn't put the book down. I enjoyed especially the richness of characters - good characters who made mistakes, bad characters who had good in them. I enjoyed how characters had to wrestle with trusting others. I enjoyed how a seemingly good motive of pleasing other people led sometimes to bad outcomes. I enjoyed especially the unwinnable dilemma at the end of the book - the only way out was not to get there in the first place! But even once there, with the help of others, a way out might be possible ... Things that made me think twice about sharing this book with a younger reader - (1) Drugs, alcohol, and nuance in accepting people with problems there. "Nicholas and Pa's friends circle me, smiling. Some are a bit bent with that same smell Pa has when he drinks. But the look in their eyes is the same: love. I -know- they have my back." (2) Vivid descriptions of acting out in ways which are dangerous or deadly - throwing rocks from rooftops at cars, "trainsurfing." (3) Connecting most calmly with others through screentime. The main character's most peaceful moments include sharing video games and watching movies. * * * But I really appreciate the author treating his reader with respect with such candid looks at reality. He treats his characters with respect by not judging their judgment (like skipping class - we see the consequences, instead!). And the unwavering message throughout is a winner, too: Always share your troubles. Always.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Book Details

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For kids who love middle school stories and books for boys

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