Monday, November 9, 2015

with all my heart and then some

This weekend I read House Arrest by K.A. Holt. I love novels written in verse, and this story about 12-year-old Timothy did not disappoint.  It was amazing.

Here's an excerpt from the jacket cover:

Stealing is bad.
I know.
But my brother Levi is always so sick, and his medicine is always so expensive.

I didn’t think anyone would notice,
if I took that credit card,
if, in one stolen second,
I bought Levi’s medicine.

But someone did notice.
Now I have to prove I’m not a delinquent, I’m not a total bonehead.

That one quick second turned into
a judge
a year of house arrest,
a year of this court-ordered journal,
a year to avoid messing up
and being sent back to juvie
so fast my head will spin.

It’s only 1 year.
Only 52 weeks.
Only 365 days.
Only 8,760 hours.
Only 525,600 minutes.

What could go wrong?

This is a beautiful story about empathy and pride and sacrifice and family and devotion and choices ... and one domino falling on another and another, with seemingly no end in sight.
Boys don't write in journals,
unless it's court-ordered.
At least, this is what I've figured. 

Middle grade and young adult readers will love Timothy and I am so excited for them to read this story. The book is Timothy's court-ordered journal. His voice is authentic and he has a huge heart.

We're fine. 
Please don't worry. 
It's not like we live in a cave in China. 
Or a hut in Africa. 
It's not like there are flies circling my face. 
Or clods of dirt caked on my feet. 
We have enough. 
We're OK. 
Please, Mrs. B, don't talk about social services again. 
We're doing our best. 
We're fine.

Life throws a lot at Timothy and we get to process emotions and learn right along with him. Readers will be able to relate to how good people can get caught in bad systems. It is hard to show others how deep your sorrow can go, or how immediate your family's need really is.

One year ago. 
Like one of those machines 
where the ball falls in a bucket 
and knocks over a bottle 
that lights a match 
that pops a balloon 
that scares a chicken 
who lays an egg 
that cracks in a pan 
and makes your breakfast for you. 
One year ago it all started. 
One year ago I made this crazy meal 
that I am still eating.

I loved this book with all my heart and then some. 


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