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A 10-year-old boy is on a mission to find his absentee father in this tender and humorous British family drama.

What Zac Hutchinson wants most for his 11th birthday is for his long-lost dad to attend his party. Zac lives in a small fishing village in northern England with his mother, Juliet, who can barely make ends meet. At school, Zac is teased relentlessly about being overweight, and his mother only notices how unhappy he is after his teacher calls her about Zac’s changing behavior. When Juliet begins to take a closer look at Zac, she finally realizes that, like her son, she is also rather miserable. Juliet institutes various lifestyle changes for Zac and herself, from healthier eating and more exercise to increased time together, and she begins to realize how desperately Zac wants to find his father, Liam. Unfortunately, there are many long-buried secrets surrounding Liam’s departure that Juliet is reluctant to dig up. First and foremost, Juliet’s parents blame Liam for Juliet’s brother’s death. Juliet has told Zac only that Liam “did a runner” after he discovered Juliet was pregnant. Juliet worries that if Zac ever finds out the truth about why Liam really left, it will destroy her relationship with her son as well as his relationship with her parents. As Zac attempts to locate his father, he enlists his best friend, Teagan, another lovable and loyal character, in his mission. As the narration alternates among Zac, Juliet, and Zac’s maternal grandfather, Mick, Zac finally stumbles on a few useful clues about his father, and matters grow all the more complicated. Although Zac’s childish voice is at times overdone, the rest of the story is so engaging that readers will surely plow on.

An endearing tale of perseverance and forgiveness.

Pub Date: June 12th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-451-49034-6
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2018


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