Synopses & Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Brett Gerson is a real-life S.R.K. (spoiled rich kid)-the guy you love to hate. Yep, Bretts pretty much got life in the bag-until his dad is jailed for insider trading, and the family money swirls down the drain.
Brett wishes things could go back to the way they were-until some dirty swimming pools change everything.
"A compelling narrator will keep readers riveted to this first novel, about a former rich kid who must adjust to life literally 'on the wrong side of the tracks' after his father is arrested for insider trading.' Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Reading Group Guide
1. Bretts friend Frank doesnt seem to understand that Brett cant spend money the way he used to. Have you ever had a friend or classmate who was clueless about your personal circumstances (like your financial situation or your familys rules, for example)? Can you think of a situation in which you might have been insensitive to someone else?
2. You let your guard down, and they nail you. I wasnt getting nailed. No way (p. 101).
How does Brett keep his guard up throughout the story? Is there a point at which he lets it down?
3. Youre looking for a solution. Were human beings, after all.
Were problem solvers (p. 143).
With these words, Brett describes his initial reaction to Alfies death. Do you agree that a human beings first reaction to a problem is to try somehow to solve it? Can you describe your feelings at a time when you had to confront a problem that couldnt be solved?
4. How does Alfies death change Bretts perspective on his own life? Has anyone close to you died? Beyond the sadness at the time, did this death permanently affect the way you think about your life?
5. What does Brett mean by "a kind of love that doesnt really come with a list" (p. 162)? Are there people in your life whom you love but dont really like?
6. Mostly Id respond by saying, "Mom, youre like boring me out of my mind" (p. 44).
Brett is very blunt. How would you compare yourself to him in the way you talk with your family? Do you wish you could change the way you and your family communicate? What would be your ideal?
7. How do Brett and his sister differ in the way they react to their fathers imprisonment? How do they deal differently with anger (see p. 89)? How do you think you would respond in Bretts situation?
8. Why does Brett decide to visit his father after Alfie dies?
Have you ever changed your relationship with a person because of an event that had nothing to do with that person?
9. Why is working with Alfie so much better than working at Fast Burger? In your opinion, what makes a job a good one?
10. Have you ever had a friend who wasnt in your age group, as with Alfie and Brett? How was your friends perspective or way of life different from yours? What could you learn from each other?