A coming-of-age novel about loss, grieving, and family.
Sixteen-year-old Pup Flanagan is struggling. He is not doing well at school, he has an (unrequited) crush on his best friend, Izzy, and above all, he is still grieving the loss of his brother Patrick, who died suddenly at age 20 of bacterial meningitis. As the youngest of eight siblings and one of 27 loud family members who unfailingly gather for Sunday dinners, Pup knows his whole family is also hurting, but no one talks about it. Not even his brother Luke, who is drinking far too much (and far too often), or his lesbian sister Annemarie, his favorite. Things start to change when his art teacher takes an interest in him, suggesting that Pup take up photography. Through photography he befriends Abrihet, an immigrant girl from Eritrea whose family is as close-knit and warm as Pup’s. While the story primarily focuses on Pup as he learns how to express himself through art and companionship, Printz Honor winner Foley (Neighborhood Girls, 2017, etc.) deftly paints a portrait exploring the different ways that grief and loss affect the members of a loving yet broken Chicagoan family who are finding their ways back to each other with the help of their youngest, most underrated member. Pup and his family are white.
An introspective novel about the healing power of art with light touches of tears, laughter, and romance. (Fiction. 14-18)