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THE LAST NEWSPAPER BOY IN AMERICA by Sue Corbett

THE LAST NEWSPAPER BOY IN AMERICA

By Sue Corbett

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-525-42205-1
Publisher: Dutton

Corbett stirs current events into an old-fashioned boy-makes-good tale with mixed results. Wilson Glenn David V, now 12, assumes his tiny town’s newspaper route, a family tradition begun by his grandfather. Wil, a precocious homeschooler, intends saving his earnings for a laptop, but when The Cooper County Caller announces that it’s cutting costs by eliminating home delivery for the town, the boy rises to a higher purpose. The overfull plot blends the five-day stint of a traveling fair (complete with a high-stakes, crooked game of chance that Wil’s determined to expose) with his fight to galvanize public protest over The Caller’s decision. Narrative tension wobbles under a load of issues: the town’s poor economy, the Davids’ rocky finances since the closure of the hairpin factory and the cable-less community’s tenuous access to information. Corbett overworks Wil’s futile attempt to acquire a recent newspaper story about events at the shady carnival’s prior stop, and one wonders why an ailing town endures its founding family’s lock on the sole newspaper route. A tidy resolution comes hastily together as “Wil of Steele” proves his mettle. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)