Life for Ryder and his mother isn't perfect, but they manage by facing the world together, until a freak accident leaves Ryder alone with a lot of problems.
When his mother suffers a road accident, Ryder has to dodge the attention of social services while trying to find ways of raising money for the operation that could save her life. Add to this the stress of being caught by the police when a gang of kids tricks him into breaking into Yankee Stadium, and he starts to feel like his whole world is on the verge of collapse. Luckily he's got unlikely friends in the form of a guilt-ridden firefighter and a neighbor who suffers from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, a connective-tissue disorder that confines him to a wheelchair. But will that be enough to save his small family? Best-selling author Green has had much success with books that feature lonely boys with family issues who rely on innate talent to carve escape niches in sports. This one is written in the same vein, though the plot, complete with unlikely medical scenarios, is slightly less believable than his previous books. The strength of the cast—cranky ex-reporter, firefighting teddy bear, sympathetic visiting nurse—carries the book despite its weak plot.
Those who appreciate consistency are the most likely to welcome Green's latest. (Fiction. 10-13)