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Henry Smith’s father has made a mantra out of running from problems: “If you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you.” Sure enough, the Smiths live in a mansion on Boston’s North Shore that has housed the family for 300 years. But when Henry’s older brother and prep-school rugby star, Franklin, is accidentally run down by a Cambodian classmate, Chay Chouan, and lies in a coma, Henry must reconcile the perfect older-brother image with the abusive, racist jock he might really have been. Meanwhile, the town erupts into an improbably monotonal furor against the nearby immigrant community. Henry and a pal take a road trip, meet Chay, and undergo the requisite catharsis and closure along the way. Schmidt, coming off his Newbery Honour for The Wednesday Wars (2007) here focuses on the serious stuff, but handles teen levity well enough to keep readers involved. Unfortunately, this changeup mostly functions to divert from the emotional weight of loss, anger, and reconciliation, rather than to drive it home. Grades 7-10. --Ian Chipman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details


A tale of racism and stereotypes by a New York Times Bestselling author. Contains Schmidt's eloquent language and compelling characters.A" School Library Journal, starred review

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