Going Places

275p. Amberjack. Mar. 2018. Tr $10.99. ISBN 978-1944995539.
Gr 9 Up—Eighteen-year-old virgin Hudson lost his father to the war in Iraq in fifth grade. Now a senior in high school, he attempts to disappear by homeschooling. College just isn't for him; he dreams of becoming a graphic novelist. Eighteen-year-old worldly classmate Alana is the object of Hudson's desire; if only her feelings were the same. Hudson takes a backseat to Alana's boyfriend and school quarterback, Bryce. When not playing best friend to self-centered, manipulative Alana, Hudson operates a dog-walking service and "Distress Dial" service. Through this service, he meets 90-year-old veteran, Mr. Pirkle, whose neighbor is high school star athlete, Lauren Fritz. As Hudson's relationship with Mr. Pirkle builds, his relationship with Fritzy develops into a strong friendship. Mr. Pirkle has "incidents" during the night that involve seeing his little girl and Hudson is forced to tell Fritzy and his mom about them. Meanwhile, Alana is getting along with no one, and Hudson isn't getting what he wants out of the relationship. Hudson and Fritzy go to great lengths to prove to Mr. Pirkle that he is not seeing his little girl, but the discovery they do make holds surprises of its own. This coming-of-age novel has many threads, but the author satisfactorily attempts to highlight the hidden casualties of war and the devastating effects of dementia. The first-person narrative provides deeper understanding of the male teen mind-set. Due to language, sex, underage drinking, it is more suited to mature readers.
VERDICT Recommended as an additional purchase.

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