On Thin Ice
July 30, 2019
Ked Eakins is about to lose everything.
He's just discovered that his dad has gambled away their rent money. They're going to get kicked out of their home.
But Ked is determined to fight back. He hatches a plan to save their apartment by rebuilding a vintage minibike in his school's maker space, which he'll sell for a profit.
Still, the plan is a gamble of his own: Going to maker space forces Ked into the path of a school bully, who torments him about his progressive spinal condition.
Can Ked -- with the help of some unlikely new friends -- find a way to fix the bike and save his family from going under before it's too late?
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Ked is an amazing character whose plight will speak to many middle grade readers. Why more books don't delve into the intricacies of lunch room dynamics, I will never know. Ked's physical challenges are lightly handled-- his back certainly bothers him physically and emotionally, but he moves on the best he can. The idea to fix up and sell a motorcycle isn't the best idea, but it is certainly something that I can see occurring to a middle school student as a great way to make money. I normally don't like books about bullying because they are not realistic (swirlies, wedgies, etc.), but what Ked experiences is spot on. Whispered words, quiet digs, friends abandoning him. Told in first person, something about Ked's voice appealed to me and made me want to find out what would happen and how he would deal with it. Combined with the intriguing cover, this story will capture the imagination of a variety of readers.
Wow. This has a lot of emotional impact AND is an interesting read. This is a fantastic book that spans that difficult MG/YA gap and is a great choice for 8th grade boys who have moved beyond books with simple characters and plots. Hand this to readers who liked this author's Rotten, Key's Fourmile, and Vrabel's Bringing Me Back.
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