Check off another Mission: Rochester Teen Book Festival Challenge read! Whoot!
Michael Kimmel is an average eighth grader who's too short to be good at basketball and too unmotivated to care about school. When the grandfather he barely knows suddenly dies, Michael can't understand why his dad seems so detached. But when the ghost of his grandfather contacts Michael and begins to show him scenes from the past, Michael suspects it's up to him to right the wrongs between his father and grandfather – before he himself becomes trapped in the river of the dead.
Here’s my two cents:
Michael is a boy who never really feels like he has a place. You know the feeling and you’ve read similar characters: they never seem to do anything right, they have a “perfect” sibling, and their best friend is quickly losing interest in them as they get older.
Michael remembers spending time with his grandfather out at the lake during the summer, bored and lonely until he was about 7 years old when the rest of his family stops even mentioning grandpa. Then grandpa dies and Michael realized that he is able to connect with his dead grandfather in a way that he has never really connected with anyone. And even better, grandpa’s confidence and skills seem to be the side- effects of the connection. Of course, so is a hankering for creamed spinach. This story is about misfit Michael, but also about his relationships with his sister, his best friend, and his father. Bigger than that, it’s a story about how our experiences can harden our hearts to the rest of the world and the love of the family around us.
This book makes my Must Reads shelf for 2016. And bring the tissues.
I’m so glad that I liked this book because I will be Ms. Davitt Bell’s Author Assistant and TBF this year and it would have been totally awkward to avoid eye contact with her the whole time.