Friday, September 7, 2012


by Pat Schmatz

Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he's missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there's just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he's called on to read out loud. But that's before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn't take "pass" for an answer--a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it's before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. (description from

I was surprised, honestly, by how much I liked this book. It has such a "blah" title and the cover does nothing for without being prodded, I might never have picked up this book. 

Short and quirky, this was a good read.  It has a heartwrenching feel that builds into a heartwarming feel that will stick with you after the book is done.  Both Travis and Velveeta are characters that you just want to see succeed.  Both come from families with some *issues,* but luckily they find one another and one great teacher. 

This is a book that just feels honest and true to life.  It was one that I rolled around in my brain for a few days after I'd finished listening to it.  It is one that I will probably recommend to the right teen in my library. 

Full disclosure: Audio book borrowed through interlibrary loan.

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