Tim Green is an excellent author who writes books that middle grade boys really, really like. They are sports oriented, a good length, and often feature spy type scenes and strong female characters. I buy multiple copies of everything, and the books are always checked out. This is awesome. We need about ten more people like Green writing middle grade novels.
HOWEVER, everyone has off days. While New Kid and First Team were beyond fantastic, Lost Boy fell victim to the current trend in middle grade fiction where the authors try to depress the holy crap out of readers. Yes, I said crap. Holy crap. Who is telling authors to do this? Their agents? Or do we need to write a group prescription for antidepressants for authors? The only reason I haven't been flinging most of these books (Like Lupica's grief-o-rama The Only Game) physically across the room when I am done is that I have been reading E ARCs and don't want to damage my nook.
People. Stop. No more dead parents. No more dead anybody. Unicorns. Pooping rainbows. Thank you.
Green, Tim. Lost Boy
March 3rd 2015
Ryder and his mom have gotten along in New York without his father, whom he doesn't know. His mother cleans hotel rooms for a living, and Ryder loves baseball. Coming home from practice one day, his mother is hit by a truck and ends up being very badly injured. Since there is no one to take care of him, one of the EMTs, Doyle, takes Ryder under his wing. They do locate Mr. Starr, a disabled and rather cranky neighbor, who reluctantly agrees to watch out for Ryder. Mr. Starr was an investigative reporter, so he and Ryder get it in their minds that Ryder's father is a man his mother mentions briefly, Jimmy Trent. They narrow this down to a current baseball player, whom they then proceed to stalk, even taking a bus far from New York. Of course, Mr. Trent is none too pleased that Ryder shows up, screaming that Ryder is his son and he needs $200,000 for a heart valve transplant for his mom. Paternity tests are ordered, to the dismay of Trent's wife, Mr. Starr doesn't do well with traveling, and Ryder's mother is still in bad shape. But never fear! The last two pages are happy and everything is hunky dory.
Strengths: There is some baseball, and the road trip was vaguely interesting.
Weaknesses: So much depression, grief and general misery. This must stop.