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by Alice Mead

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: March 22nd, 2002
ISBN: 0-374-33969-4
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Junebug and his family have moved away from the housing projects, where drugs and gangs were part of everyday life, but he meets up with some people from his past, which is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Junebug is excited to be living in his new home and going to a new school, but he misses some of his old friends. His best friend Robert still lives in the projects, but Junebug’s mother refuses to allow him to visit, saying that it is just too dangerous. Junebug also wants to learn more about his imprisoned father and proceeds to write him a letter and to visit him. Darnell, another figure from Junebug’s past, also comes around, proving to Junebug that some can escape the reality of crime and poverty. A disinterested father, Robert’s desire to join the local gang, and a shooting make this a realistic and touching look at one young boy looking to break free from the stereotypes that many seek to impose upon him. This succeeds as a hopeful, yet hard look at youth growing up in the inner city, where violence and pain are part of everyday life. A wonderful addition to this series, featuring a hero who is at once brave and fragile. (Fiction. 8-12)