Published by Chronicle Books
Summary: 12 year-old Timothy is starting a year of house arrest for stealing a wallet. As part of his probation, he has to keep a journal about his feelings. Writing in verse, Timothy recounts his life with his mother and baby brother, Levi, whose respiratory problems force him to have a tracheotomy. This life-threatening health issue proved too much for Timothy’s dad, who abandoned the family when Levi was just a few months old. Their mother works to support the family and takes care of Levi day and night. Timothy reveals that he took the wallet so he could fund Levi’s medications for a month and try to give his mom a break. His gruff but kind probation officer and his young, earnest psychologist are just two of the people who help Timothy find his way through a long and difficult year. It’s a roller coaster ride, but the end holds out hope that all members of the family will make it. 304 pages; grades 5-8.
Pros: This fast-paced novel is hard to put down. Reluctant readers will get caught up in Timothy’s life, and the verse format makes the story move quickly.
Cons: Novels in verse can be a hard sell for kids unfamiliar with the format.