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POOL BOY by Michael Simmons Kirkus Star


by Michael Simmons

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7613-1885-2
Publisher: Roaring Brook

Brett Gerson has it tough: fabulously rich for 15 years, his life is capsized when his father is jailed for insider trading. “[I]f you go from the life of leisure that I once had,” says Brett, “to the life of toil and drudgery that I have now, it’s very, very hard.” That toil and drudgery consists of a move to his eccentric aunt’s house on the wrong side of the tracks and a job cleaning rich people’s pools with Alfie. The relationship that builds between the elderly, bus-driving, pool-cleaning free spirit and the spoiled, selfish teen is a marvel to watch unfold. Brett’s voice never softens, but readers will catch on that his wiseass commentary is in part a façade to conceal honest-to-goodness emotion. When Alfie meets with a medical emergency, that emotion comes flooding out. It’s no mean feat, rendering a character who is both detestable and sympathetic; Simmons has done this, and hilariously so, his first time out. (Fiction. 12+)