Ernie and Will stick together to minimize or deflect the regular bullying aimed at them by a cruel group of five jocks. Ernie’s mom and his Uncle Max provide a caring support system, but the boy is overweight. Will is lanky with bad skin and a mother who left him and his younger brother, Sam, with an alcoholic father. The friends enjoy fishing together until the day Sam drowns when their boat capsizes. Will’s feelings of guilt about his brother’s death and sadness about parental neglect cause him to attempt suicide. Luckily, perceptive Ernie recognizes his friend’s signals and intervenes in the nick of time. Despite these circumstances, the bullies continue their harassment, until Will has had enough and plans to get even with a gun. Ernie and Will are sympathetically drawn characters who just want peace, one another’s friendship, and the little joy that comes their way. Like Gray in Nancy Garden’s Endgame (Harcourt, 2006) and Brett in Patrick Jones’s Nailed (Walker, 2006), Will faces challenging family relationships plus the torment of bullies, and reaches a breaking point where he strikes back to end the pain. The open-ended conclusion offers readers hope that he gets the help he needs, and leaves them with a great respect for Ernie as he chooses to do what is right.
Causes Catherine Hyde Supports
The Pay It Forward Foundation, Marriage Equality (See Human Rights Campaign), the 350 movement to help ease global climate change, LandWatch San Luis Obispo...