Semegran is quickly becoming one of my favorite storytellers! Absolutely terrific “coming of age” read! Four 12-year-old boys have the summer experience of a lifetime and they will never be the same. Set in the ’80s, Semegran brings us a story that crosses racial and socio-economic boundaries in Texas. The writing is superb and the characters quickly become 3 dimensional and people you know well.
Semegran writes this story in part as a response to the book Lord of Flies. You might find this strange but it actually happens fairly often. Probably the most well-known book response to another book is James Joyce’s book Ulysses that was written as a response to Homer’s Odyssey. In William Golding’s book, Lord of the Flies a group of boys are stranded on an Island, and in an effort to govern themselves the experience becomes horrendous. Semegran presents a story that shows how friendship actually works along with its cooperation and desire to put the other first and does so for the better. By the way, Golding’s book was actually a response to the book The Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne.
There are so many things I loved about this book. For one thing, it has the best moral, ethical lesson, with real friendship means you think of the other first. Second, all of us have made stupid dangerous mistakes when we were young, it is part of growing up so maybe the mistakes are not as big of a deal as our minds make them out to be. Third, when we dare to cross imagined racial and economic boundaries our lives are enriched. And finally, there is nothing like a coming-of-age story to warm your heart and make your mind soar on memories of old.
Read this book, buy copies for the teens in your life, and reconnect with the thrill of an adventure!