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by Ryan Gebhart

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6521-0
Publisher: Candlewick

Feeling abandoned by his two closest companions, 13-year-old Tyson just wants things to go back to normal—even if that means field dressing his own elk and fighting off a man-eating grizzly bear.

When Tyson’s best friend, Bright, decides he would rather hang out with the cool kids, Tyson reasons that he still has his grandfather for companionship. But when his grandfather Gene moves into a nursing home and Tyson’s parents cancel their big hunting trip, it is almost more than Tyson can handle. With social pressures to fit in mounting and grades rapidly sinking, things are becoming desperate. Suddenly, the hunting trip is as much about saving himself as it is about taking down a six-point bull elk. Tyson is quirky, awkward and lovable; a perfect middle school boy. He is also, at times, laugh-out-loud funny, but his best qualities are his fierce love for his family and his unwavering desire to be true to himself. It is this inner strength that carries the story through some eyebrow-raising moments. While honesty is emphasized, the lies surrounding the secret hunting trip are brushed aside as necessary for the greater good. Occasionally salty vocabulary and adolescent innuendo are developmentally spot-on.

A quirky, sweet adventure for middle school boys. (Fiction. 12-14)