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by Pat Hughes

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-30956-6
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Nate Tanner gets booted out of boarding school and comes home to Pennsylvania, where his wealthy father is a coal mine operator. When Nate makes friends with Johnny, a breaker boy, and discovers a plot against his father’s company, Nate’s loyalties are tested. Though readers learn a fair amount of history, this is really a story about truth and the difficulty of discerning it. “There are three sides to every story,” Nate is told. “Y’rs, mine—and the truth.” But when you’re caught between a mine-owning father and a friend who’s a mine worker in a time of labor unrest, where does the truth lie? Rooting her story in family history and on the Lattimer Massacre of 1897, Hughes writes simply, relying on solid dialogue to carry much of this fine work. Though the story comes almost full circle, with Nate heading back to boarding school, he is a different person and has affected the lives of those around him. A strong story of family and friendship, rooted in a fascinating period of American history. (author’s note, glossary) (Fiction. 9-13)