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The Best Bad Luck I Ever Hadby Kristin Levine
Synopses & Reviews
Though he thinks of himself as a cowboy, Tommy is really a bully. He's always playing cruel jokes on classmates or stealing from the store. But Tommy has a reason: life at home is tough. His abusive mother isn't well; in fact, she may be mentally ill, and his sister, Mary Lou, is in the hospital badly burned from doing a chore it was really Tommy's turn to do. To make amends, Tommy takes over Mary Lou's paper route. But the paper route also becomes the perfect way for Tommy to investigate his neighbors after stumbling across a copy of The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper.
Tommy is shocked to learn that one of his neighbors could be a communist, and soon fear of a communist in this tight-knit community takes hold of everyone when Tommy uses the paper to frame a storeowner, Mr. McKenzie. As Mr. McKenzie's business slowly falls apart and Mary Lou doesn't seem to get any better, Tommy's mother's abuse gets worse causing Tommy's bullying to spiral out of control.
Poignantly written, Kristin Levine proves herself a master of gripping and affecting historical fiction.
"Tension builds just below the surface of this energetic, seamlessly narrated first novel set in small-town Alabama in 1917. Twelve-year-old Harry, aka Dit, has been looking forward to the arrival of the new postmaster from Boston, said to have a son Dit's age. The 'son' turns out to be a girl, Emma, and to everyone's surprise, the family is what Dit calls 'colored' and others call 'Negras.' Emma, bookish and proud, impresses Dit with her determination (he calls it stubbornness) when she decides to learn to throw a ball or climb, and when Emma's mother upbraids him, Dit begins to rethink what he's been taught about the South's sorrowful defeat in the War Between the States. Levine sets up a climactic tragedy that will challenge the community's sense of justice; although hair-raising Mockingbird — esque events are becoming common in YA novels about inequality in the segregated South, Levine handles the setting with grace and nuance. Without compromising the virtues and vices of her characters, she lets her readers have a happy-enough ending. Ages 10 — up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Set in 1917 and inspired the by the author's true family history, this novel tells the poignant story of an unexpected friendship between a white farm boy and an African-American city girl--and the ripples it sends through a rural Alabama town.
The last thing Harry ÒDitÓ Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. Propertalking, brainy Emma doesnÕt play baseball or fish too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white in the 1910s. But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Together Dit and Emma come up with a daring plan to save him from the unthinkable.
About the Author
Kristin Levine lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and daughter. This is her first novel.
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Children's » Historical Fiction » United States » 20th Century