BREAKING OUT by Barthe DeClements


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Next-door neighbors Jerry (son of a convict) and Grace (daughter of a preacher) have learned to look out for each other (Five Finger Discount, 1989, Monkey See, Monkey Do, 1990). Now facing seventh grade, neither knows what to expect; Jerry worries that the other students will find out about his father, while Grace's tattletale impulses put a damper on budding friendships and have made the nickname ""Holy Grace"" all but inevitable. Ms. Castle, an English teacher with a background in drama, befriends Jerry and helps him put his painful past into perspective, advising him to draw on his experiences to develop his acting skills. Jerry gets work in a commercial (after just one audition) and begins to rebuild his relationship with his father. Meanwhile, Grace demonstrates formidable good spirits in time to enjoy the school dance and leave her nickname behind. Jerry's such a nice, normal boy that it's easy to dismiss a lot of his angst, especially since so many pivotal encounters between him and his family are either hurriedly related asides or occur offstage. Still, the steps he takes toward growth are convincingly paced and well played; with or without acting, it looks like he'll will do just fine.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Delacorte