FAIR HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT by Cynthia Cotten

FAIR HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT

Age Range: 8 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

As 12-year-old Michael and his family arrive at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm for their annual summer stay, an ambulance pulls away, its siren silent. Shockingly, Grandpa, with whom Michael had an especially important bond, has died. Through the ensuing summer and fall, grief is both repressed and expressed, often poignantly. Michael, who excels in art and struggles with math, fears that his father, busy with teaching high school and working on a math dissertation, is too preoccupied to help. The boy trades yard-work for Saturday art lessons with his dad’s former colleague, and faces another setback when he learns that Mr. Andrews has a cancer that’s returned. Cotten’s prose is often stiff, and the supporting characters are thinly sketched. The rapport between Michael and Mr. Andrews seems baldly plot-driven rather than organically revealed. But Michael’s struggle with a tumult of emotional issues (abandonment, loneliness and new attachments, both to Mr. Andrews and a classmate, Melanie) is affectingly portrayed, and this earnest, welcome example of realistic middle-grade fiction stands out among the continuing glut of fantasy novels. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 9th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-374-39935-1
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2007




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