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by Chris Woodworth

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: June 12th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-374-30987-9
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

When caught viewing inappropriate websites on the family computer, 13-year-old Eddie McCall is sent to spend his four-week vacation in Indiana with Uncle Peavey, a scrawny little “garden gnome” of a man living in the middle of nowhere. Looking for a father figure, Eddie doesn’t expect much from Uncle Peavey, who has never even been on a date and still sleeps in a bunk bed. Though he feels as if he has walked right into reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, Eddie—predictably—comes to appreciate his great-uncle, the mechanically minded girl named Ronnie who helps Peavey in his shop and the values they impart. Swirling around Eddie’s resentment at his exile are stories he glimpses only parts of: Peavey’s determinedly single status, Ronnie’s bristling resentment and his unguessed-at connection to the unpleasant Daly family. Woodworth leavens her simply written story with well-drawn characters and quiet wisdom, making this a good choice for discussion groups. Parents, too, might learn from Eddie’s single mother and her determination to assert parental control over her son’s use of the Internet. (Fiction. 10-14)