All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

 
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All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
March 01, 2016
ISBN
9780062333469
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Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home. When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?

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Interesting character in an unusual setting.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
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N/A
Perry and his mother, Jessica, have a routine worked out at their home in the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility, where Perry has lived since his birth. Perry gets to do the morning wake up call on the intercom, have breakfast with his many friends, and then is driven to school by the warden's niece, who teaches at his new middle school. His good friend Zoey Samuels is there, and while there are a few boys who give him a hard time about where he lives, most of Perry's life seems perfectly normal to him. His mother is up for parole soon, and the two have big plans for their life after Blue River. Unfortunately, there is a local district attorney who feels that the warden should not have let Perry live in the facility, and that Perry's mother has not been punished enough since he was allowed to live with her, and therefore should not get parole. This DA gets custody of Perry and takes him to his home... which is also Zoey's home, since the DA is her stepfather, Tom. Perry misses his mother, his friends, and the security of the life he has always known, even though Zoey and her mother are supportive and understanding of his difficulties. When his teacher assigns the standard "Why did your family come to Butler County" project, Perry decides he is tired of hiding, and plans to interview the other residents of the facility, as well as his mother. He uncovers a number of secrets, including one that may help him and his mother reconnect and move on with their lives.
Good Points
This was a surprisingly upbeat and engrossing book. Perry's daily life in the facility, as well as the various reasons that people came to be there, were both something new for middle grade fiction. The sense of supportive family made this uplifting rather than depressing. Even though Tom wasn't working under the best motives, Perry's foster home was also supportive, so he was surrounded by lots of people who cared about him.

The mystery of Jessica's accident, and the irregularities that Perry finds with her confession and conviction, are realistic. There is just enough legalese to make it interesting, but not so much that it bogged down the story. The story of the mother's life before Perry's birth was sad, but balanced against the progress she had made while incarcerated and the support network that she created for herself, it just made the present something that both she and Perry appreciated.

Like Bauer's Almost Home, Pitchford's Nickel Bay Nick, or Woods' The Blossoming of Violet Diamond, this is a story that capitalizes on the strength of the familiy we create, and the comforts of home, no matter where we make it.
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All Rise For A Great Book
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
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OH.MY.GOODNESS. What a wonderful book. I saw this somewhere other than Goodreads (shocker) and liked the idea I read about. I do not think I had read any Leslie Connor's books before this, but I know kids at school had read Waiting for Normal. Perry lives in Suprise, Nebraska...just a small blip of a town. He has the nickname Morning Son. He also lives at Blue River Co-Ed Correctional Facility. No, Perry is not a criminal. He is a kid who just happens to be the son of someone housed at the correctional facility. He has known no other home for his whole life. He goes to school outside of the facility, where of course he is bullied. He brings stories back to his mom and the others inside everyday. He helps cook, greet new residents and wakes everyone up in the morning. Until, that is, a newish District Attorney catches wind of this and makes it his mission to correct this wrong.
Good Points
A fast paced read that didn't get boring. As part of Perry's school assignment, he wants to get the stories of his inside family. Some will gladly give him the story...others, including his mother, will not. This is the kind of book you can sink you teeth into and grab a hold of the characters. It shows what love and caring and respect can teach, even when the circumstances are not ideal. This is a must add to my collection at school.
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