A CORETTA SCOTT KING HONOR BOOK AND THE WINNER OF THE BOSTON GLOBE HORN BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION!
"Extraordinary friendships . . . extraordinary storytelling." --Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-Winning author of One Crazy Summer
Meet Caleb and Bobby Gene, two brothers embarking on a madcap, heartwarming, one-thing-leads-to-another adventure in which friendships are forged, loyalties are tested . . . and miracles just might happen.
Caleb Franklin and his big brother Bobby Gene are excited to have adventures in the woods behind their house. But Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town.
Then Caleb and Bobby Gene meet new neighbor Styx Malone. Styx is sixteen and oozes cool. Styx promises the brothers that together, the three of them can pull off the Great Escalator Trade--exchanging one small thing for something better until they achieve their wildest dream. But as the trades get bigger, the brothers soon find themselves in over their heads. Styx has secrets--secrets so big they could ruin everything.
Five best of the year lists!
NPR, HornBook, Kirkus Reviews, SLJ, Shelf Awareness
Five starred reviews!
This memorable novel about three African-American boys in small-town Indiana opens with a trade: Bobby Gene and his little brother, Caleb, swap their baby sister for a sack of fireworks. Though the child is returned immediately, the brothers (ages 11 and 10) get to keep the fireworks. But what to do with them? Enter Styx Malone, a charismatic teen (who's "sliding through the world like the air around him was greased"), who tells the siblings, "You just gotta learn how to make people give you things." Styx convinces them that the trio can make a profit on the fireworks and, through a creatively convoluted trade-up sequence (involving old car parts, a lawn mower, and some Harley-Davidson memorabilia), could end up owning a snazzy moped. Beneath the entertaining shenanigans runs an affecting emotional current: Styx has ricocheted from one foster home to another and aches for a loving home; narrator Caleb grapples with the fear that he is "ordinary" and feels smothered by his overprotective father. Interweaving themes of risk taking and trust, betrayal and forgiveness, Magoon (How It Went Down) crafts a novel that is genuinely funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting extraordinary, in fact. Ages 8 12.