This is Corriveau's middle grade debut novel. When I saw the book in the store yesterday, I let out a happy squeal. I quickly took one copy and placed it on the staff pick display in the children's department.
Nicky Flynn's parents are getting a divorce. After, a scary incident at dinner, Nicky's mom decides it's time to leave. Throughout the story Nicky has flashbacks to that moment in the kitchen. Nicky and his mom move to a small apartment in Charleston. Nicky's mom told him they would be living in Boston, be he isn't fooled.
"Charlestown isn't Boston. You can sort of see Boston from Charlestown, if you squint through a bunch of highway overpasses and bridge. But Charlestown itself is pretty much exactly what it says - a town named Charles - not much bigger than Littleton, where I'm from. About the only difference is that Charlestown's a lot more run down and dirty. We now live in a one bedroom apartment on the parlor level (which is the first and a half floor) of one of these so called town house on Eden street. Eden is supposedly the beautiful garden where Adam and Eve live when they named all the animals. About all they could name here in Charlestown are alley cats and squirrels." (from the arc)
That was a long excerpt even with edits, but I wanted to show how well the author did with Nicky Flynn's voice. He sounds like the 11 yr old boy he is supposed to be. Yes, Nicky is a little negative about Charlestown but he's sad about his parents getting divorced and losing all his friends. There are many moments in the book when Nicky Flynn is positive after he comes to accept the changes in his life.
Things begin to turn around for Nicky after his mom gets him a dog. Reggie is a German shepard and a retired seeing eye dog. Reggie has a mind of his own and soon he has Nicky taking him to all of the places he's familiar with. Its thanks to Reggie that Nicky starts to get to know Charlestown. Nicky mom's is busy working, trying to support the two of them. Nicky has nothing better to do, so he decides to find out why Reggie is retired and what happened between Reggie and his old handler.
At school Nicky is doing an independent study project for English class on seeing eye dogs. The author slips in some very nice facts about seeing eye dogs. At one point in the story Nicky, gets a little taste of what it feels like to be blind and must put all his trust in Reggie.
Corriveau gives the reader a great feel for the city of Boston, when Nicky and Reggie go on the Freedom Trail tour. This is a very well layered story. Its also serious, funny and thoughtful. There is always talk about where are the books with boys. I believe this is a great one. If you haven't figure it out already I loved it. Nicky Flynn is one of my favorite male protagonist of 2010. This is perfect for fans of The Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman or Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass. ages 10 up