What It Is About: Maverick is starting sixth grade. He hasn't had the easiest of time since his father died in "combat" and his mother has turned to alcohol and men to heal her pain. He has two "tokens" from his father. One is a medal his father was awarded and one is a plastic sheriff badge that his dad got him. At the beginning of sixth grade Maverick decides he is going to do good "deeds" and acts of kindness for the people in his life. He wants to be a "hero" like his father. As he sets out to accomplish this quest, he finds events turn out the wrong way and he ends up in trouble. The assistant principal and Maverick became good "friends" with all the visits he made to his office. Maverick must deal with Jamie, a girl from his childhood, and Bowen, the class bully that makes his life miserable. While dealing with his mother who is at a low point in her life and trying to be a hero at school; Maverick realizes it isn't always easy to do the right thing.
What I Thought Of It: I had the most enjoyable afternoon reading this book. From the moment I met Maverick I knew he was going to be one special sixth grade boy. He had such strength, determination, and kindness. His heart was always in the right place. The writing was so strong that I could feel his pain, his frustration, and his hope. Jordan Sonnenblick has a special writing style that brings his character alive and they jump off the page and become part of the reader. There were so many tender and personal moments woven between Maverick and the family/friends that surrounded him. Children live tough lives and this story shows how you can rise from the "ashes" and become a better person for it.
Who Should Read It: Of course this would be the perfect novel to share with a sixth grade class. I already texted two of my friends who teach sixth grade to tell them about the book. I know this age group would be completely captivated by Maverick and his story. Of course it not only could be shared, but I think is also appropriate for fourth and fifth graders. And lets not forget our middle-school readers. They would love it also. If you have read anything by Jordan Sonnenblick, then you MUST read his newest work of fiction.
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars