Meet Socrates, better known as Socko, on the first day of summer before his eighth-grade year, a summer that will change his life forever.
The musty walls of the dilapidated Kludge Apartments are marred by creepy-looking spiders: tags indicating that the building is the territory of the Tarantulas, a neighborhood gang headed up by a local thug called Rapp. Socko and his friend Damien make it their business to avoid the gang, putting off as long as possible the inevitable day that they will be forced to join. When Socko’s mom announces that they are moving to a house in Moon Ridge Estates, Socko is thankful for the escape but devastated that he cannot bring Damien with him. And when they arrive at the Estates—which is bereft of trees, grass and other people, nothing like the fancy brochures promised—and meet the curmudgeonly great-grandfather that they will be taking care of in exchange for housing, his hopes sink still further. Eventually, Socko meets Livvy and learns that her father owns the now-struggling housing development. At first, there seems to be no way to save it, and no way to help the folks that Socko and his mom have left behind in the old neighborhood, but with some creative thinking and generosity of spirit, miracles might just be possible. The third-person narration is tightly focused through Socko's perspective, adopting a gentle colloquial voice that complements the natural dialogue.
Steeped in violence (more implied than graphic) and poverty, but focused on love and hope. (Fiction. 9-12)