FICTION

The Dollar Kids

illus. by Ryan Andrews. 416p. Candlewick. Aug. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763694746.
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarGr 5–8—After the shooting death of his best friend, Lowen's family decides to move to a struggling town where they are selling houses for a dollar. Unfortunately, though dirt cheap, the houses are in terrible condition, and the townspeople treat the new residents as charity cases and are openly hostile. Meanwhile, Lowen tries to process his grief through the comic strips he draws, which are sprinkled throughout. He also helps his family work on repairs to bring their house up to the town's standards, helps support his mother's new business, and adjusts to his new school. At play in this book are a number of overlapping social issues: loss of manufacturing jobs, class divides, racial divides (many of the "dollar families" are the town's only non-white residents), and gun violence. Without resorting to stereotypes, Jacobson creates a rich cast of characters who are realistic and complex. The prose flows naturally and the pacing is swift. While not every question is answered and not every character becomes friends, the ending is a satisfying and emotional one.
VERDICT A skillfully written and heartfelt novel about a family making a new home, recovering from grief, and the town full of people who join them on their journey.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.