One summer, after a long plane ride and a rotten bad year I went to Grandma Jo's. It was my mother's idea. Jett, what you need is a change of scenery. I think she needed a change of scenery, too. One without me. Because that rotten bad year? That was my fault.
Thus begins the poignant story, told in free verse, of eleven-year-old Jett. Last year, Jett and his mother had moved to a new town for a fresh start after his father went to jail. But Jett soon learned that fresh starts aren't all they're cracked up to be. When he befriended a boy with a difficult home life, Jett found himself in a cycle of bad decisions that culminated in the betrayal of a friend - a shameful secret he still hasn't forgiven himself for. Will a summer spent with his unconventional grandmother help Jett find his way to redemption?
Writing in artfully crafted free-verse vignettes, Heather T. Smith uses a deceptively simple style to tell a powerful and emotionally charged story. The engaging narrative and the mystery of Jett's secret keep the pages turning and will appeal to both reluctant and avid readers. This captivating book offers a terrific opportunity for classroom discussions about the many ways to tell a story and how a small number of carefully chosen words can have a huge impact. It also showcases the positive character traits of empathy resilience, courage, and responsibility.
Heather Smith is the author of two young adult novels, Baygirl and The Agony of Bun O'Keefe. Originally from Newfoundland, she now lives in Waterloo, Ontario.
Exquisite and heartbreaking ...
... a warm-hearted, compassionately observed novel that demonstrates that redemption is a quality we can achieve for ourselves.
Smith's sparse language exposes the heart of Jett's anguish and destructive anger; he's a realistically complex character whose emotional development unfolds organically through Smith's quiet storytelling.
... a powerful and poetic story of emotional endurance.
... one of the year's best books.