400p. Dutton. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101994917.
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—Once there was a family who grew and dug potatoes for generations, but family disagreements led to the selling of the land. One of the brothers took his portion, developed the land, and grew money instead of potatoes. He and his wife also grew a family of five children, then decided not to pass their money on to the generation who left home young and rarely or never spoke with their parents. Each of these children had one child, cousins who had no connection with one another—if they even knew that they had cousins at all. Then in a confluence of events, all five of the cousins found themselves living within a few miles of their grandparents—the Freak, the Shoveler, CanIHelpYou?, Malcolm, and Loretta. They each have difficult family lives, and all of them are loners—until they find one another. King's delightful surrealism flows effortlessly back and forth against the stark realism of the five teens' lives, touching on issues of abuse, prejudice, white privilege, and loneliness. Gottfried and Marla, the grandparents, and each of the teens are well-developed, well-rounded characters with multiple interwoven chapters building to the climax. Even minor characters are well-drawn portraits. This combination of masterly storytelling, memorable characters, and unexpected twists and turns make this book into an unforgettable, lingering read.
VERDICT A first purchase for all libraries that has great discussion potential.

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