Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Homesick: Summer Reading, part I

Summer is just around the bend, so for the rest of June I'll be posting reviews of middle-grade and ya novels that make for thought-provoking beach reads. Starting things off: a review of Homesick by Kate Klise.

Benny Summer has a lot of things going for him. He’s got good friends in his hometown of Dennis Acres, Missouri, a possibly promising radio career, and even a hint of romance in fellow sixth-grader, Stormy Walker.

On the outside, Benny’s life seems to be going well. It’s at home that everything’s a wreck.

Benny’s mom has left, this time for good. Benny’s dad is still around, but he reacts to his crumbling marriage by intensifying his already extreme hoarding behavior.

Benny’s dad has never seen a piece of junk that wasn’t “redeemable.” And he’s stacked that junk in mile-high piles in the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and every other room of the house. And the yard.

All of this might seem like heavy going for middle-grade fiction, but Kate Klise (Regarding the Fountain) has a light touch. She fills the book with folksy charm, vivid characters, a quick-moving plot, and unexpected warmth and compassion.

When a destructive tornado comes screaming through town, Benny and everyone else in Dennis Acres is forced to decide what’s most important: the things we wish were redeemable or the people we love regardless.

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