Skeezie Tookis has a life-changing summer in this fourth book of the funny, heartfelt, and beloved Misfits series by Bunnicula author James Howe.
I started wearing my dad’s leather jacket that he left hanging in the closet. I nabbed it right before my mom was going to toss it in the trash. She hated that I wore that jacket, but it’s what I have left of my dad.
Skeezie—also known as Elvis for the black leather jacket that he never takes off—isn’t looking forward to the summer after seventh grade. While his best friends Bobby, Joe, and Addie have exciting adventures, he’s stuck babysitting his sisters and working at the Candy Kitchen. True, he gets to hang out with the awesome Steffi, but he still has to contend with his maybe-crush on hot-and-cold Becca and Kevin Hennessey’s never-ending bullying. When his dad suddenly reappears, it’s another sign that this will be the worst summer ever.
This thoughtful conclusion to the Misfits series begins with Skeezie as an adult, an expectant father reflecting on his summer between seventh and eighth grade. Skeezie's letters to his young self, aka "Little E," are sprinkled throughout the narrative, providing moments of quiet wisdom. At age 13, as Skeezie's friends take off in different directions to exciting vacation destinations, he stays put with drearier prospects: babysitting his younger sisters while his single mother works two jobs, as well as finding employment of his own to help make ends meet. Skeezie could do worse than landing a part-time job at the Candy Kitchen, his favorite hangout. There, he finds a mentor and confidante in a 19-year-old coworker, Steffi. She helps him sort out his feelings about his father, who makes an unexpected reappearance in Skeezie's life. In return, Skeezie offers advice on her relationship with a boy who wants to marry her and settle down. Once again, Howe shows uncanny understanding of adolescent concerns and vulnerabilities, painting a realistically complicated portrait of a boy's coming of age. Ages 10 14.