This author also wrote the book- Pax, which is now one of our family favorites, so I looked forward to reading this new novel.
Ware is a boy that tries to please his parents by agreeing to what they call “Meaningful Social Interaction” and being normal at a day camp for the Summer. It hadn’t started that way, and he has looked forward to spending his Summer in his world of imagination while staying with his Grandma. When she fell/needed surgery/rehab, they went to plan B, with all those “normal” activities.
Luckily he ends up meeting Jolene, and he ditches the Rec program to help her with her plans of growing papayas in an empty lot. It works for both of them, and he can live out some of his Knight and Code of Chivalry fantasies. His character is just so lovely I wince every time he gets his feelings hurt. His parents are stressed for sure juggling their jobs, grandmas’ care, and saving for a home. They willingly admit they don’t understand him, and although he has a supportive Uncle who tries to help, there is some push and pull as Ware attempts to be himself and please his parents.
I’d go up to 8th grade with this story for the right kind of reader. There is a lot to think about/discuss with each character’s motivations.
Scheduled for publication February 4, 2020.