Wednesday, August 26, 2020

90. Pay Attention, Carter Jones

Pay Attention, Carter Jones. Gary D. Schmidt. 2019. 217 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: If it hadn't been the first day of school, and if my mother hadn't been crying her eyes out the night before, and if the fuel pump on the Jeep had been doing what a fuel pump on a Jeep is supposed to be doing, and if it hadn't been raining like an Australian tropical thunderstorm--and I've been in one, so I know what it's like--and if the very last quart of one percent milk hadn't gone sour and clumped up, then probably my mother would never have let the Butler into our house.

Premise/plot: Carter Jones learns how to be a gentleman when a butler--inherited from his paternal grandfather--comes to help out the family. At the start of the novel, Carter is a bit out of sorts--there is a LOT going on in his life that is confusing and troubling. The butler doesn't "solve" everything from day one, there is an adjustment period for sure!

One thing the book has is a strong sports story line. The butler is pretty insistent that Carter Jones learns to play cricket. And soon it's a new sport at their middle school with the butler coaching!

But in addition to sports and more sports, it has a strong family story with emotional punches.

My thoughts: I am not a big fan of sports books. But this one offers enough characterization to make it worth my while. If you do happen to be a fan of sports, this one might appeal even more.

I loved Carter Jones and the butler. I loved Carter's family. I loved seeing Carter come of age and find some peace among the turmoil.

I would recommend it. I'm slightly torn between three and four stars. Three stars because of all the sports--I never did make any sense of cricket or four stars because of the emotional connection I felt with the characters.

© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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