Thursday, March 19, 2009
"I try not to laugh. Three days off, laying around the house. I'm really getting punished now."
R.D. Mitchell is 15. He doesn't really care that he is repeating eighth grade. He knows that through social promotion he will be automatically sent to high school when he turns 16. No problem. Then R.D. comes home to find that Earl, his Grandma's ex-boyfriend, with whom he lives, has died unexpectedly. Going to a group home would be bad and no one really wants a teenage foster kid, so R.D. decides to keep Earl's death a secret and pretend that his Grandma is back to take care of them due to the illness. Janet Nichols Lynch captures the frustration of being hungry and not understanding the adult world as R.D. tries to take care of himself and keep his secret. Some things seem a little too easy, for example, R.D. takes over Earl's at-home car repair business to make money and most of the adults just drop off their cars and go along with it. However, kids will be drawn in by the opening scene--a fight on the first day of school--and probably won't put this page-turner down. Messed Up by Janet Nichols Lynch is now available from Holiday House Books for Young People.