Synopses & Reviews
"This novel may be brief, but it leaves a big impact."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Tom's a normal seventh-grader, negotiating a slightly prickly stage in his long friendship with Jeff...The arrival of new girl Jessica Feeney, however, changes everything; Jessica, who is attending a local hospital for treatment, has been badly burned by a fire, and her terrible disfigurement shocks the class into confusion. This isn't the usual book about adjustment to difference; instead, Abbott brilliantly explores the kids' struggle to manage the intrusion of abnormality in their lives...this is a thoughtful exploration of a brief interlude's lasting impact."
-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Abbott's (the Secrets of Droon series) stirring novel centers on Tom Bender, who describes himself as a 'sweaty, fat kid' who feels invisible much of the time. ('People don't really talk to me much in school or notice me.... My mother says it's because I don't 'get out there.' ') The seventh-grade narrator's only friend is Jeff, who seems angry quite often since his father moved out. Tom has a crush on Courtney, a beautiful and popular classmate, and he imagines himself as a superhero who can rescue her from danger. But it isn't Courtney who needs rescuing. Jessica, who has been badly burned in a fire, joins their class at St. Catherine's when she moves to town to undergo skin grafts at a nearby hospital. 'I remember wondering how someone looking like that could even be alive,' Tom says the first time he sees her. None of the students attempts to get to know Jessica. Tom, too, initially keeps his distance, though he (unlike Jeff) holds her hand during class prayer time. When he brings Jessica her homework on a day she is absent, the girl poignantly opens up to him and he, in turn, shares his secret thoughts and superhero fantasies with her. Though fleeting and fragile, Tom's connection to Jessica changes his perspective on himself, his peers and friendship, and underscores the reward of reaching out to another of getting 'out there.' This novel may be brief, but it leaves a big impact. Ages 8-12. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Tom and his classmates learn that Jessica, who has been badly burned, will be attending their school while getting medical treatments. Despite her startling appearance, Tom slowly develops a friendship with Jessica that changes his life.
From the moment Jessica arrives, life is never quite the same for Tom and his seventh-grade classmates. They learn that Jessica was in a fire and was badly burned, and will be attending St. Catherines while getting medical treatments.
About the Author
Tony Abbott is the author of over 35 books for young readers, including the extremely popular Secrets of the Droon series, which has sold over 4.5 million books to date. He has worked in a bookstore and libraries, and currently lives in Connecticut with his wife and two daughters.