After the deaths of his parents, a boy is left to care for his ill grandfather.
Eighteen-year-old white teen Gabe LoScuda just wants to play video games with his buddy John Chen, a first-generation Chinese-American, and pine over a girl at school. But his life is turned upside down when his parents are killed in a car accident. Suddenly he’s forced to take care of his grandfather, who’s addled by Pick’s disease, a form of dementia, and prone to violent outbursts. Gabe remembers his father promising never to send the old man away, so he does the same. At his parents’ funeral, Gabe’s estranged uncle, Nick, appears and offers to move in, proving to be more couch potato than help. In a hospital waiting room, Gabe meets Sofia, a Mexican-American tattoo artist and lover of punk music. The two build a rapport, and things begin to look up until Grandpa’s unpredictable behavior puts the tenuous balance in jeopardy. And Gabe will do anything, even ruin his own future, to keep anyone from taking Grandpa away. As a character, Gabe’s dynamic and real—he’s fiercely loyal and an ardent fan of poetry—but everyone else falls prey to tropes. It’s Gabe’s dedication to his family despite the pain they cause him that elevates an otherwise predictable story.
An uneven love song to the hardships of caring for ailing family. (Fiction. 14-18)