Published by Kids Can Press
Summary: Jett makes it clear from the beginning of this novel in verse that he’s had a “rotten bad year”. After his father was imprisoned for killing a family while driving drunk, Jett’s life began to spiral downward. He became friends with the class bully, and eventually learned that his friend has his own sad reasons for his bad behavior. Jett’s spending the summer with his grandmother, who loves him unconditionally and uses her tough love to help him come to terms with some of the bad choices he’s made. He and Grandma tell each other stories from their lives that help Jett to see he’s not the only one who’s made mistakes. Set on the northeast coast of Canada, Jett allows the beautiful beaches and sea help him to heal and move forward into what he hopes will be a better year for him. 232 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: A beautiful collection of poems about learning to forgive and let go of the past. Despite Jett’s troubled past, he is a likeable narrator, and his story moves back and forth in time, allowing the reader to get to know him while slowly learning of his difficult year.
Cons: Although the ending is ultimately hopeful, there’s a lot of sadness in the story.