Friday, July 13, 2018

Book review - The Dollar Kids

Title: The Dollar Kids
Author: Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: The Unforgettable Guinevere St Clair by Amy Makechnie
                      Lemons by Melissa Savage
gentle, but with depth

Summary (provided by publisher): 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?

My opinion: I like a number of the elements in this book. I like seeing this severely economically depressed town, the levels of poverty and desperation. These are folks barely getting by but they still have their pride. They love their town and their traditions. They resent the need for help and the people who are providing it, giving context to their treatment of the Dollar families. And I appreciated that while the new families introduce a new level of diversity, they don't come in and teach the small town people a better way of life. They're not opening the town's ignorant eyes. If anything, they're all learning from each other. They're all learning new ways to approach life. I struggle with some of the plot elements, which I found a bit too convenient, and some characterization quirks that seemed from the wrong time period. Most of the plot focuses on finding your place in a new town, but the heavier topics of grief and guilt don't get forgotten.

More information: The Dollar Kids releases August 7.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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