Seven months ago Trent Zimmerman accidentally hit Jared Richards in the heart with a hockey puck. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to anyone, Jared had a heart defect and the rogue hockey puck killed him. Trent feels solely responsible for the accident and even after working with a school counselor for the remainder of his fifth grade year, he is still carrying around a lot of baggage at the start of his sixth grade school year. Baggage that manifests into unbridled rage that frightens his family and the few friends he has left.
He would like to try to play sports again, especially baseball since it is his favorite game, but every time he tries his arms go clammy and he starts to have trouble breathing. He has not told anyone about these panic attacks and prefers to let people think that he is not interested in participating.
At the suggestion of his elementary school counselor, he tries to deal with some of his emotions by writing and sketching in a journal, but even that offers little relief from the constant thoughts rattling around in his brain. He is sure that most everyone in town hates him and he cannot stop blaming himself for Jared’s death.
He is hopefully though that sixth grade will be the year for a fresh start, however, once he starts school, he is unsure how to make that “start” happen. And then, Fallon Little steps into his life.
Trent has always known of Fallon, they have gone to the same school since first grade and she sports a mysterious scar that slices through the center of her face, but it is not until she stands up to bullies for him that he really takes note of her.
At first Trent resists Fallon’s friendship, but she is not one to be easily put off and soon they are spending afternoons together. It is through this friendship that Trent starts to heal, grow, and eventually realize that while he cannot change the past, he can make better choices for his future.
Author Lisa Graff has knocked it out of the park with this tragic, yet hopefully tale of boyhood. While readers may not identify with such a life altering event, many will be able to empathize with Trent and his flawed decision-making process.
By tackling the subjects of youth rage, anger, and the general feeling of being out of control,Graff has created a noteworthy and welcome addition to today’s chapter book collection. Males, even teenage ones, are supposed to be tough and not show emotions or weakness and Graff illustrates how detrimental this can be with Trent’s character. Thankfully, she allows for some redemption, too, and with the addition of Fallon’s quirky, also damaged character, readers are sure to che