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by MJ Auch

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9112-0
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

After his mother sustains a serious head injury, 14-year-old Travis faces enough challenges to leave a lesser kid in despair. His unsavory father, coping badly after the accident, loses his job, pulls the boy’s older sister out of school to watch the younger children and, in anger, kicks Travis out. He leaves home, deep in the Adirondacks, with a few dollars, an inherited guitar and only enough food for a day or two. When that runs out, he gamely tries to live off edible weeds gathered along the roadside. Although he encounters his share of scoundrels, especially one who steals his guitar, helpful, sympathetic adults, including a talented guitar-maker running a guitar-picking contest, recognize the teen’s plight and intervene in ways both subtle and not to guide him toward workable solutions. Initially a bit stilted, this effort quickly hits its stride, mostly due to well-drawn, believable characters and the strength of Travis’s nearly indomitable spirit. While the satisfying conclusion may seem overly optimistic, it is nothing more than this endearing teen deserves. (Fiction. 10-14)