Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls by John Lekich

Meet Henry Holloway, one of the nicest, most considerate fifteen-year-olds in Teen fiction. If he sees a problem, such as a room needing sweeping or a dirty mug, he’ll make it better. Unfortunately he does this in other people’s homes while committing burglary.

When we meet Henry he’s living in a tree house, just barely getting by on what he can pilfer. Henry is an orphan. His mother was a pianist who tried her best to teach Henry about manners and morals; he mostly absorbed these lessons. Among Henry’s cherished memories are special dinners with his mother in a fine restaurant.

After Henry’s mother died, Henry lived with his Uncle Andy and Uncle Andy’s friends—all of whom were thieves. Uncle Andy‘s rules for his friends included NOT teaching Henry the trade. But when Henry forgot his keys, it was only natural that one of the friends teaches him to pick locks. Henry is now homeless and living in the tree house because Uncle Andy and all of the friends are serving time. Uncle Andy thinks Henry is living with a foster family; Henry doesn’t want to worry him.

Inevitably Henry gets caught and sentenced to a special program in Snowflake Falls, a tiny community on Vancouver Island. Despite living with a really strange and often irritating foster family, Henry’s naturally kind nature prevails. He is forced to share a bedroom with toddler Oscar, who screams instead of speaks—except to Henry. Oscar babbles all night practicing new words.

Unlike Oscar, his sister Charlotte never stops talking. She’s a very smart, very awkward thirteen-year-old who instructs Henry on how to do everything (even when he already knows) and sits with him at school lunch. Other people might blow up at either child, or be unkind to Charlotte—but not Henry.

Unfortunately Henry’s kindness does not save him from making unwise decisions—sometimes kindness is a cause of the poor decision. You’ll enjoy his semi-larcenous escapade with “The Devil’s Dumpster,” a Monster Truck.

When Uncle Andy and his buddies come to Snowflake Falls after they get out of prison, things heat up for Henry. To whom does he owe loyalty? Can he go straight? Find out when you read The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls, available from the Virginia Beach Public Library.

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