Publisher: Candlewick Press
Year of Publication: August 2018
I’m trying to explore more genre because for all my love I always been afraid to get out of my comfort genre and I’ve been meaning to read Middle Grade books other than fantasy, so you could see that I’m really glad when I found out that NetGalley approved me to read this e-ARC!
Twelve-year-old Lowen Grover is a passionate comic artist, at least he was, until his only friend Abe who’s usually there when he was drawing and criticizing him, died in a random shooting. After that, Lowen barely draw anymore because it’s always reminding him of Abe. Haunted by guilt and grief, all Lowen need is to escape the town he lived in. So when he saw the advertising of one dollar house in a former mill town, it seems like a perfect escape. He proposes the idea to his parents and siblings, and after various considerations they decided to give it a try. But is that really a good choice? Have they traded one set of problems for another?
I must warn you that if you don’t have the patience to read a slow pace book then you might won’t survive this because the pace is so slow and sligthly boring, at first. Well you know I hate slow paced books too but the good thing is, I always power though, and for once I’m glad that I power through this book and not DNF this. I read the first 250 pages in 3 weeks but then things are getting interesting after that and it only took me 2 days to finish the rest.
Lowen is a very relatable 11 year old boy, ever since Abe died he pushed everyone out of his life, he didn’t even do the things he loves anymore, his heart is full of guilt because he feel responsible for Abe’s death. It is so painful to read about him because he always surrounded by his sadness. And to watch him grow and actually try to get over the guilt is a story worth reading. His parents are very supportive in any way, even though they struggle in this new town, they always find a way to keep trying. Lowen’s siblings Clem and Anneth are unique characters and they are developed so much through the story. There are also many side characters that I found interesting and diverse, Sam is one of the dollar kids and I admire her spirit and intelligence, she always there to help people without complaining. There are so many other characters and they’re all very interesting and real.
This book is not just about Lowen and his effort to overcome grief. As soon as they move to the dollar house, the entire family are struggling with their own problems. The story is so real, there are issues that actually exist in real life like gun violence, poverty, harsh neighborhood, and death. And they are told in the most beautiful way. But this book is not only make you cry for the struggle and sad moments, you will also cry for the joy and happy moments that would guaranteed make your heart warm. And I love that there are so many beautiful lessons that could be learned in this book.
The writing style is great but there’s nothing special about it, in fact I’m a little bit annoyed by the repetition. But there are some comic strips inside this book and I love them so much.
This book is about getting over guilt and grief, about sticking together as a family, hardship, believing in your dream, friendship, and a community. If you don’t mind with slow paced books I really recommend you to give this book a try!