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Summary: Mike Martin and Greg Cox are best friends. The boys are in the sixth grade at St. Francis Catholic School. This year, they are preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The boys had not been together all summer and had some serious catching up to do. Mike was reluctant to discuss his summer with Greg because their friends bragged about being involved in vandalism. Mike didn’t know whether they were really involved or just bragging. He chose to avoid those friends and hide out at home all summer. When he finally decided to share his concerns with Greg, Mike was arrested. This novel for pre-teens addresses leading a Christian life and making responsible choices.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 11 to 13
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a neat story and the author found a clever way to integrate a catechism lesson into a full fledged story.
Pros: With a brief catechism lesson on the Sacrament of Confirmation to set the stage, the author provides the reader with a simple and compelling story about the angst that adolescents experience when trying to make a personal decision.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. At first glance the prospective reader might hesitate to buy this book because it pertains to religion. The book offers more than a catechism lesson. It is a great resource for teachers, counselors, and parents of adolescents. The story revolves around how challenging and difficult it is for adolescents to make personal decisions. The readers will have much to talk about.
Educational Themes: This book provides a platform through which parents, teachers, and coaches can help kids through a trying stage in their lives. As the reader progresses through the story, she/he learns that Mike was carrying a lot of baggage with him. Mike really wrestled with the decision-making process and the impact of his choices. Mike is not unique in dealing with his dilemmas, his peers suffered the same angst.
Literary Categories: Fiction - Christian, life lessons, middle grade, friendship, coming of age