Tuesday, December 3, 2013


By Kate Klise
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Copyright © 2012
Review by Anthony Kendrick

“I’ve told you, Nola. It’s coming. A giant
computer network that will link everyone in the whole wide world…” so says a prescient Calvin Summer in January of 1983. And boy he doesn’t know how right he is, but being right isn’t doing his son Benny much good.

Benny Summer lives with his mom and dad, Nola and Calvin, in a little nowhere town called Dennis Acres, Missouri. Of course more correctly Benny “lived” with his mom. She took off recently because she just couldn’t stand living with Calvin and his mess anymore. Nola plans on coming back for Benny in just a couple of weeks, but in the meantime his home is falling further into squalor and disrepair. Benny needs help if he is going to get his dad to straighten up the house and get his mom to come back, so he enlists the help of a couple friends. The process gets into full swing though when the town wins an award as America’s Most Charming Small Town and all its residents decide they need to help Benny get his house cleaned up. But can they do it before representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce come to view their town in person?

“Homesick” is the interesting tale of good boy stuck in a bad situation. Benny’s parents have split because his dad is a hoarder, and his dad’s condition is getting progressively worse. No one really understand how bad the problem has gotten until a disaster strikes and Calvin remains more concerned about his junk than his, and his sons, life.

“Homesick” is filled with quirky characters in a quirky little town. Not every piece of the story seems to fit well together, but Benny is a kid that you can root for which saves the book.  Many students will be able to connect with this book on some level, especially if they have ever been a casualty of a divorce or separation, mental health issues, or natural disasters. While people in Benny’s situation don’t often have the type of happy ending he ended with, I can understand the author wanting to give young readers hope.

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