by K.A. Holt
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Text Difficulty:2 - 3
About the Author-
- K.A. Holt is the author of Rhyme Schemer and House Arrest, along with several other books for young people. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas, and is active within the vibrant Texas writing community.
August 3, 2015
Twelve-year-old Timothy is spending a year under house arrest after stealing a wallet to pay for medicine for his sick baby brother, Levi. To avoid juvie, he must reflect on what he did in a court-ordered journal, in addition to weekly visits with a probation officer and psychologist. Holt (Rhyme Schemer) establishes Timothy’s voice via episodic free verse poems that showcase her finesse with the form, persuasively expressing his many emotions. For example, he’s angry with his father for abandoning them (“I wish I could drive/ away, away, away./ But even if I could, I wouldn’t./ Because there are people to take care of./ People you left behind”), worried about Levi’s health, hopeful that he can help his mother and brother, and developing feelings for his best friend’s older sister. Touches of humor lighten the mood, and Holt’s firsthand knowledge of the subject (her own son had trachea problems, the acknowledgments reveal) adds depth to this poignant drama without overwhelming it. The focus remains on Timothy’s journey to overcome his troubles, though if the ending is any indication, he has a ways to go. Ages 10–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
July 1, 2015
Gr 6-10-Timothy stole a wallet, and now he's an adjudicated delinquent. The only places he's allowed to go are to school and to appointments with his therapist and probation officer. Also, the judge gave him a journal-writing assignment. If Timothy shows signs of remorse and doesn't get into more trouble over the course of the next year, he may be able to avoid being sent to juvie. But Timothy didn't take the wallet for himself. His family is in dire financial straits ever since his father left and his younger brother was born with serious health issues. Now, with plenty of spare time on his hands, Timothy can fully explore his complicated feelings about his current family situation. He knows one thing, though: stealing the wallet may have been wrong, and he knows it didn't help, but if there's a way he can truly help his struggling family, he won't hesitate to act. This gripping novel in verse evokes a wide variety of emotional responses, as it is serious and funny, thrilling and touching, sweet and snarky. Timothy is an entirely believable kid, and his brother's health issues, as well as Timothy's reactions to them, are skillfully described. VERDICT This story will have plenty of appeal for reluctant and enthusiastic readers alike and will be a good fit for most library collections.-Misti Tidman, Licking County Library, Newark, OH
Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
August 1, 2015
A boy works desperately to keep his sick little brother safe.Twelve-year-old Timothy has a probation officer, a court-appointed psychologist, and a yearlong sentence of house arrest. He also has a 9-month-old brother who breathes through a trach tube that frequently clogs. Heavy oxygen tanks and a suction machine as loud as a jackhammer are their everyday equipment. Timothy's crime: charging $1,445 on a stolen credit card for a month of baby Levi's medicine, which his mother can't afford, especially since his father left. The text shows illness, poverty, and hunger to be awful but barely acknowledges the role of, for example, weak health insurance, odd considering the nature of Timothy's crime. The family has nursing help but not 24/7; the real house arrest in Timothy's life isn't a legal pronouncement, it's the need to keep Levi breathing. Sometimes Timothy's the only person home to do so. His court sentence requires keeping a journal; the premise that Holt's straightforward free-verse poems are Timothy's writing works well enough, though sometimes the verses read like immediate thoughts rather than post-event reflection. A sudden crisis at the climax forces Timothy into criminal action to save Levi's life, but literally saving his brother from death doesn't erase the whiff of textual indictment for lawbreaking. Even Mom equivocates, which readers may find grievously unjust. Easy to read and strong on sibling devotion, with frustratingly mixed messages about personal responsibility. (Verse fiction. 9-13)
COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
PublisherChronicle Books LLC
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