Monday, January 25, 2010

IT’S ALWAYS MONDAY MORNING

At least it seems that way to Trevor, the new kid in 7th grade. It’s a common scene. New kid in school tries to fit in. Not so common is that he does it pretty well. However, the secrets driving the life of this particular new kid keep him hopping to hide them.

INVISIBLE LINES by Mary Amato, Illustrations by Antonio Caparo. Egmont, 2009.

The book opens with Trevor, his mom, and his young siblings moving into substandard housing in a school district struggling to cope with recently re-drawn boundaries. This redistricting throws privileged teens into contact with disadvantaged ones. The haves and have nots bump up against each other in a cruel way. Trevor is determined not to be defeated, however, no matter what life hands him. His own dad is in prison and his mother barely makes it through each day as the single parent to Trevor and his half siblings, a kindergartner and an untrained toddler whose father is never there and always behind on child support.

Trevor has talents honed in the school of hard knocks and he tries to put these to use to get what he wants, a spot on the elite soccer team, a place in college track classes, especially science and art, and entry into an exclusive group of boys that has everything. He disdains his mother’s life but, observing how poorly certain other adults take their responsibiitie to their children, he realizes she could have opted out. A subplot emphasizes that a baby should be born into a family that is ready for it. Another subplot, dealing with the study of mushrooms and how they work, parallels how friends and neighbors interact.

The author dedicates this book to “to all the Trevors I have known.” Boys and girls in middle school will read through the story fairly quickly thanks to the large print, lots of white space, and “cool” drawings. They won't forget as quickly, however. They will be wondering if a boy or girl like Trevor is sitting next to them in class.

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