**It might be called a new-style story for young readers (few have written successfully in the humorous dialect of a New York boy); it may definitely be cited as a rare reading experience, which will delight boys-- and girls-- growing up in Manhattan, and intrigue those less familiar with the metropolis. In the present tense (which effectively draws the reader in to the stick ball games, the subway jaunts, the trips to Coney, the Bronx, and Fulton Fish Market), Davey Mitchell describes his unique life as a fourteen-year-old growing up in a not very ritzy Gramercy Park. Tom's fondness for a stray cat (""My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason why I got a cat""); his friendship with Kate (""The kids around here call her Crazy Kate because she walks along the street in funny old clothes and sneakers talking to herself""); his first shy feelings about girls (""A year ago... Nick and I would either have moved away from the girls or thrown sand at them""); his comradeship with Tom, a homeless nineteen-year-old (""I wonder where his mother and father are, whether they're dead or something"")-- here the essence of his boyhood is captured. The author knows the language of a New York boy in the same sense that Mark Twain knew the talk of a Mississippi one, and like Mark Twain, she has such complete mastery of the technique that the reader is never aware of someone standing behind the boy. A potential prize-winning book which is a great achievement, more remarkable, considering that it is the author's first book -- hopefully, not her last.