by Edward Bloor (1997)
Kind of a strange book, several types of books blended together -- spooky in the beginning (I'm sure a zombie was mentioned) then a lot of sibling rivalry/jealous of the football star brother mixed with the new kid in school, then a good dose of racial/economic class confrontation, then wraps up with the evil brother terrorizing the neighborhood and dysfunctional family horrors from the past... that said, I liked it!
It's different, and covers a lot of ground, but it's exciting and moves quickly -- perfect for active boys that don't need one theme repeated and dwelt on for an entire book, gives 'em lots to think about and react to. The bad seed football star older brother was a little cartoonish, but the end result is quite dramatic. The middle section revolving around the new school and the soccer season is the best part, and could actually be read apart from the rest of the book. Good read.
why I picked it up: Again, a recommendation from Son #2, plus I'm a big sports fan and do enjoy a cold glass of orange juice.
why I didn't put it down: At first it was because I thought there would be zombies, then for the sports action, then to save the fruit trees, then to find out just how the heck he was going to wrap this whole thing up! It's a gripping, involving read on several levels and I couldn't put it down until it was finished.
who I would give it to: mystery fans, soccer players, new kids in school, underdogs.