Shotz, Jennifer Li. Hero.
November 15th 2016 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Ben's father is a policeman, and when a dog on the force, Hero, is retired, he comes to live with Ben's family. Soon after, the two are out and they find a puppy who is very skittish and beaten. Ben brings the puppy home, and his parents reluctantly acquiesce to his residence in the house until his owners can be found. Ben finds it hard to keep up with the demands of pet ownership, school, and baseball, and lets down his best friend, Noah. The two are suspicious of new kid, Jack, and wonder if he has ties to the dog fighting ring from which they believe the puppy, Scout, has come. Eventually, Scout and Hero go missing, and Ben happens upon the dog fighting ring. The men involved are dangerous, but both Scout and Hero are loyal to Ben and good fighters, so they are soon brought to justice.
Strengths: Great cover and length, which are both hugely important to middle grade readers! The story is suspenseful, and Ben's struggles and balancing his responsibilities are real. His family is all alive and supportive, and he has a good friend.
Weaknesses: There's nothing terribly fresh here, but since my Jim Kjelgaard books are wearing out badly, this is a good addition to my collection of dog stories.
What I really think: This is not great literature, but it is a fast-paced, interesting read that boys who love dogs will adore.