The Dollar Kids
August 07, 2018
Twelve-year-old Lowen Grover, a budding comic-book artist, is still reeling from the shooting death of his friend Abe when he stumbles across an article about a former mill town giving away homes for just one dollar. It not only seems like the perfect escape from Flintlock and all of the awful memories associated with the city, but an opportunity for his mum to run her very own business. Fortunately, his family is willing to give it a try. But is the Dollar Program too good to be true? The homes are in horrible shape, and the locals are less than welcoming. Will Millville and the dollar house be the answer to the Grovers’ troubles? Or will they find they’ve traded one set of problems for another? From the author of Small as an Elephant and Paper Things comes a heart-tugging novel about guilt and grief, family and friendship, and, above all, community.
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
This was a great look at a different type of life that will be new and informative for many readers. The Grovers are struggling financially, although they were doing okay in the city. The family bonding because of the move was interesting, and the reality of setting up a restaurant was fun to read. The reaction of the townspeople was also intriguing, and the story moved at a decent pace. The inclusion of comic strips (used by Lowen to deal with Abe's death) will appeal to readers who like graphic novels.
Since I have family in a small town in Iowa (under 600 people), and have witnessed its downward progression over the last thirty years, I know that this is absolutely realistic, even though it might seem odd to people with no experiences of small town life. One of my relatives even ran a resale shop for a while! Giving away houses for $1? Absolutely. In the town I know, people routinely give their houses to the town and the fire squad burns them to the ground for practice fighting fires. I was impressed that Millville had a dollar store, a grocery, and a restaurant, although I was a bit surprised that there was a library and the school was still operating with only eight children in each class.
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