This book came in a lovely blogger exchange package from Semicolon. There are several others that look great, and I will be reviewing those later. Also, thanks to this blog for reminding me about the Cybil's 2008 Best Book Finalists. I seem to be behind in my reading AGAIN.
Craig and Tom have been friends for a long time. They both like basketball, dislike school, and have parents who irritate them. Unfortunately, Tom's father is an abusive alchoholic, and his behavior keeps getting worse. After Craig is part of an incident that involves a gun going off and accidentally hitting a nearby home, he decides to distance himself from Tom and to do better in school. This is difficult, because of the length of the relationship, and when Tom goes missing, Craig gets drawn even further into his friend's problems.
This was just what I needed yesterday, because one of the language arts teachers assigned a realistic fiction book. To successfully complete the accompanying assignments, these usually have to be problem novels, and the vast majority of these tend to be weepy girl books. Fouling Out is highly readable, fast-paced, and very matter-of-fact about everything-- no hand-wringing in sight. Since it is a paperback, I didn't have to read it, but I got sucked in by the first few pages and had to keep going! Mr. Walters is an elementary school principal, and his writing shows that he knows how students really act. I hope to see more titles from him.