ABOVE AND BEYOND by Susan Bonners


Age Range: 8 - 12
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Jerry Wheelock is a popular boy with a long line of illustrious ancestors and a cousin who is a local hero. Danny Casey is an annoying class clown who hasn’t seen his father in years and whose uncle is doing time for stealing a car. Jerry accepts Danny’s friendly overtures reluctantly at first, but soon finds that Danny can be good company. When a school assignment leads Jerry on a search for the truth about his cousin’s rock-climbing rescue of a little girl years before, some unexpected information surfaces. Jerry discovers that his and Danny’s kin have crossed paths and that the car thief is also a hero, while the local hero has lived for years with an uncomfortable lie. Danny’s uncle returns home from prison and Danny learns that far from being the romantic outlaw of his imagination, his uncle is a regular guy who made some major mistakes but also saved a little girl’s life. Bonner (Edwina Victorious, not reviewed, etc.) makes references to class and economic differences between the two boys, as when Danny comments that his house could fit inside the two-car garages common in Jerry’s neighborhood, or the classroom discussion of historic contributions to the town made by various students’ ancestors in which Danny can take part only by cracking snide jokes. Never heavy-handed or trite, this is a solid story of people doing their best in sometimes morally ambiguous circumstances. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2001
ISBN: 0-374-30018-6
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2001


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