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by Michael Byrne. Recommended by a student at Barrington Middle School. I (Diane St. Jean) read it, too and it would be
a great choice for boys or anyone who likes suspense, action, and yes, some violence. Takes place in London—lots of British slang, but shouldn't be anything that interferes with comprehension.
says grades 7–10, probably for the violent scene near the end, but the protagonist is 12. Here's what
School Library Journal
School Library Journal (February 1, 2016)
Gr 5-8-An intriguing tale of survival and perseverance that will appeal to fans of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet and Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee. Twelve-year-old Bully lost his mum to cancer and was never accepted by her live-in boyfriend, Phil. Taking only his loyal canine companion, Jack, Bully would rather be homeless than share an apartment with Phil, his new girlfriend, his stepsister Cortnie, and the new baby. Bully learns the ways of the streets quickly. He forages for food through dumpsters or steals. The glimpses of the urban British streets have a Dickensian vibe. The last connection he has to his mum is a birthday card with her recorded voice. One day, he discovers a lottery ticket that he had forgotten about, which just happens to contain the winning numbers for a huge jackpot. Unfortunately, Bully makes the poor decision to tell one of his fellow homeless friends about his good fortune. This leads to a harrowing chase through the streets of gritty London with potentially devastating results. Bully isn't always a likable character. He has a selfish outlook on life, though readers will come to appreciate that this is out of necessity and for survival. Several poignant memories will strike emotional chords, and kids will develop a clearer understanding of the plight of the homeless through the eyes of Bully. His attempts to survive on the streets are hard to comprehend but very realistic. His efforts to reach out to others are clumsy yet touching. VERDICT A stirring, adrenaline-laced tale of endurance that will resonate with young bibliophiles.-Julie Shatterly, W. A. Bess Elementary School, Gastonia, NC © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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