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[The authors] found that 60 percent of the kindergartners in neighborhoods where children did poorly in school did not... More
Summary: Heath and his dad are on their way to Massachusetts. His grandfather had just died and Heath's dad, hoping for a great inheritance despite being estranged from his father, wanted to meet with the lawyer before the funeral. The good news is, that they will inherit the Sleeping Inn; the bad news is that they must live there for 3 months before they can evict the tenants and sell it. On the one hand, Heath is excited to be getting out of school (where he'd just gotten in trouble). On the other, though, he wasn't getting along with his dad too well, and his dad's idea of punishment was hard labor. As Heath's relationship with is father continues to deteriorate, he finds that the tenants are filling the gaps of "family" that he's been missing. Now he's not sure he wants to leave. This story about growing up set in a country in, is framed from the perspective of its 11-year-old main character.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, middle grade reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 11 and up
Adult Reader Reaction: I loved this book. PLEASE don't let the title lead you to think that this is a seasonal story. It just happens to occur around Thanksgiving. This is a book that can - and should - be read any time of year. Heath is the main character, and he is surrounded by a very vivid ensemble cast. Kids (particularly teens) will relate to Heath's antagonistic relationship with his dad. Several of the external forces in the relationship are the death of Heath's mom and his father's struggle with alcoholism. Neither are over-played, nor are they "pivotal" to the plot.
Pros: This is a book the whole family can enjoy and grow from. Although it is a father-son story, girls will enjoy it too.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is an excellent choice if you are looking for a strong story for fathers and sons.
Educational Themes: This is a story about relationships (fathers and sons); growing up; personal responsibility; and acceptance. There are lots of elements that you can draw from the story for discussion, and this would be an excellent choice for a book club.
Notes: The author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, family, holiday
Date(s) Reviewed: November 2009
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.