When I read the first page of this book I thought, Is this a book about religion?
The setting is New Jersey during the 50's where eleven-year-old Penny Falucci, the narrator, spends time with her cousin, Frankie, who usually cooks up an adventure that gets them both into trouble. Her father is dead and no one will talk about it. Her mother doesn't get along with her father's family but she doesn't ban Penny from seeing them every Sunday where Penny goes for dinner. This huge Italian American family is boisterous, eccentric, and loveable. When Penny seriously hurts herself in an accident she finds out the truth about her father and why the two families don't get along.
This book won a Newbery Honor in 2007. The writing is terrific with great character development. The tension comes from the families not getting along, Penny frustrated with her Mom who is afraid to let her do activities with other kids her age, and Frankie who talks her into sneaking out to places behind her Mom's back. Penny loves baseball and she listens to the Dodgers games with her uncle. Some might find this book slow but I loved it and thought the character development terrific. The action picks up as the plot moves toward the climax of the story.
Penny suffers a nasty injury in the book and there are some sad parts. Penny also starts to notice boys and thinks about dating. I thought the pacing was good and I found it hard to put down. If you read Countdown by Deborah Wiles, and liked it then you will probably like this book.
Reading Level 4.5
:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) 5 Smileys