Critically acclaimed author Cammie McGovern’s middle grade debut is a powerful and heartwarming story that will appeal to readers who loved R. J. Palacio’s Wonder, Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign, and Holly Sloan’s Counting by 7s.
Fourth grade is not going at all how Benny Barrows hoped. He hasn’t found a new best friend. He’s still not a great bike rider—even though his brother George, who’s autistic, can do tricks. And worst of all, he worries his dad’s recent accident might be all his fault. Benny tries to take his mom’s advice and focus on helping others, and to take things one step at a time. But when his dad ends up in the hospital again, Benny doesn’t know how he and his family will overcome all the bad luck that life seems to have thrown their way.
- Ann M. Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Rain Reign: “I loved this portrait of a young boy struggling to find his role in a family determined not to be defined by their differences. Benny’s brave story, told with wry humor, is inspirational.”
- ALA Booklist: “Benny’s first-person narrative radiates with exactly the kind of compassion his mother recommends. Like many nine-year-olds, Benny can be guileless in one moment and wise beyond his years in another. Highly recommended for fans of realistic fiction by writers such as Ann M. Martin or Lisa Graff.”
- Kirkus Reviews: “In narrator Benny, readers find a resilient and very observant 9-year-old who accepts those around him with their strengths and shortcomings alike. His story is insightful and inspirational.”
- Publishers Weekly: “McGovern’s thoughtful depiction of a family facing difficult situations without fracturing, coupled with a gentle message about not being too hard on oneself, will surely speak to middle schoolers with their own slate of worries.”
- School Library Journal: “A heart-filled story of a likable boy who doesn’t realize that his natural gifts are recognizable and valued by a supportive family.”
- The Horn Book: “McGovern’s observations about small acts of kindness and healing and forgiveness, are perceptive and thought-provoking.”
- Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA): “McGovern writes convincingly about characters trying to figure out how best to live with the complications of a disability. Benny’s voice deserves to be read aloud in a classroom.”
- Examiner.com: “McGovern’s stories make people who are “different” more accessible to all of us.”