Dig

by A.S. King

In this taut, mesmerizing work, the Shoveler’s mom is adept at survival but... read more

In this taut, mesmerizing work, the Shoveler’s mom is adept at survival but has never told him anything about his dad, and their recent move to Pennsylvania has him wondering yet again. In the meantime, he gets a painting job. CanIHelpYou? rebels against her wealthy family with a drive-thru job at Arby’s; she also runs a thriving business selling weed. CanIHelpYou?, whose best friend, Ian, is Black, is sure she’s nothing like her unapologetically racist mother. Loretta lives in a trailer with her mom and abusive father. She copes by seeing herself as Ringmaster of the circus that is her life. While staying with his emotionally distant grandparents, Malcolm worries about his terminally ill, single-parent dad, and thinks about Eleanor, a local girl he met in Jamaica. Marla and Gottfried are having their house painted and hosting their grandson, unaware of the ways their choices and ideas have shaped generations. Teenage Jake seems to idolize his older brother, Bill. Jake is terrified of Bill. The Freak flickers in and out of all their lives as connections among these characters gradually unfold into a shape of disturbing certainty. The story fearlessly navigates intellectually and emotionally challenging terrain—racism and whiteness, abuse and assault, misogyny, and other violence—as the teens consider and confront painful truths. Their willingness to do so, and their resilience, makes it more than bearable; it offers hope. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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