November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Fourmile

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Book cover with Boy and dogKEY, Watt. Fourmile. 228p. Farrar. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-374-35095-6; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-374-32441-4.
Gr 5-8–As punishment for throwing a brick into Dax’s truck windshield, 12-year-old Foster has to paint the fence that surrounds the Alabama farm where he lives with his mother. Dax, her boyfriend, is just plain mean and dangerous–even Joe, Foster’s dog, knows that the man is bad news. Foster is out painting when Gary, a traveler on his way to Texas, walks up the road carrying a large pack. In exchange for minimum wage and a place to sleep in the barn, he stays for a few weeks while he fixes up the dilapidated farm. Gary provides a sharp contrast to Dax. Through his kindness and the attention he pays Foster, he helps the boy begin to heal after his father’s death. When Dax turns violent, Foster’s mom tells him she doesn’t want to see him anymore, and the situation spirals out of control. This is a moving portrait of a boy coming to terms with loss and learning to survive on his own. Simultaneously poignant and suspenseful, the story will keep readers on the edge of their seats.–Ragan O’Malley, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY

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