What It Is About: This story is a novel in verse. Typically I'm not a fan of this type of novel, but it certainly worked in this case. Timothy lives with his mother and his new baby brother Levi. His father has taken off and left the family to survive on their own and tackle both financial and health problems. Levi was born with major health issues and Timothy wants to help his mother and brother more than anything. During a moment of "not thinking", he steals a wallet in order to get a credit card and use it to purchase medicine for Levi. Instead of going to the juvenile detention home, he has been ordered to serve one year of house arrest. Timothy also has to keep a journal recording this thoughts, feelings, and reactions over the year. During this time he visits a therapist and his probation officer. He also takes a leap and tries to contact a surgeon who can perform a necessary surgery that could improve Levi's life. When he doesn't hear back and his mother refuses any help from the community, Timothy isn't sure he can handle his "house arrest."
What I Thought Of It: As I mentioned above, I'm not normally a reader that enjoys novels written in verse. When I bought the book I didn't realize it was in that format. I had heard such great things about it that I just bought it without looking at the inside. The story grabbed me right from the get-go and I couldn't put it down until I finished. I began the book last night and finished it this afternoon. Reading about a young boy that so desperately wanted to help his mother and brother was refreshing and heart-warming. Timothy started his year of house arrest with a huge chip on his shoulder and as the year progressed I could see the positive changes that were happening within him. Two of my favorite characters were the probation officer and his therapist. They added greatly to the growth that happened with Timothy. The writing was top-notch and the language was beautiful. As I read, I felt like I was right next to Timothy and experiencing his life with him. Now that is strong writing.
Who Should Read It: This would make for a positive read aloud experience for students in grades four, five, and six. The plot would grab their attention and keep hold throughout the entire book. If a student were to read this on their own, I think a fifth and/or sixth grader would get the most from it. The story would also work well for a reader in the middle-school grades. Of course adults that enjoy middle-grade stories definitely have to read this story. I know they will enjoy it as much as I did. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars