It is the summer of 1946, and 12-year-old Joey Grosser is determined to be the man of the family and make a success of his deceased father’s struggling grocery business in postwar Montreal.
He is grieving, but he is also angry that his father has left them so poor. He wants to earn enough to get his mother and little brother, David, out of the poverty of their Jewish neighborhood. To achieve this, he says and does things that go against his own nature, while his best friend, Ben, tries to protect him from his own father’s evil schemes. Joey narrates his own tale with all the fear and bravado he is feeling moment to moment. Camlot weaves the elements together seamlessly and naturally while never losing sight of Joey at the center of it all. All the characters, including the city itself, are fully developed and play important roles in Joey’s journey, as when Mr. Friedman speaks to Joey about his Holocaust experiences and losses. Yiddish phrases and traditions are defined as they occur. Woven through it all is the story of Jackie Robinson’s first season of professional baseball in Montreal, captivating Joey and his friends, with actual quotes from sports reporters placed at the beginning of each chapter. Readers will be completely enthralled with Joey’s world and root for him all the way.
Powerful, moving, and wonderful. (Historical fiction. 9-13)