This is a really good book, I just need to clear space from my bookshelf. I had to read it for a Young Adult Literature class, and I'm glad that it was one of the course books. Although it's not one of those books that ends with everything happy, it is very thought provoking and leaves a deep impression.
I had a hard time getting into this book but once I did it quickly became one of my favorite books. I'm so glad I stuck with it. Even though the setting isn't in the south it had that southern feel and had to do with race relations back when things were a little more complicated and people where a little more stupid than they are today.
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for TeensReadToo.com
Thirteen-year-old Turner Buckminster III is not happy. He has moved with his parents from Boston to Phippsburg, Maine, and everything that can be wrong is: The local kids play slow-pitch baseball, his stiff white shirts label him "the minister's kid," and his mother isn't kidding when she hands him the Sears, Roebuck catalog and points to the little building out behind the parsonage. And when Turner begins to question the choices that residents of the town--and his father--are making regarding the future of the inhabitants of nearby Malaga Island, Turner begins to fear that what he heard before leaving Boston may have been the truth: "Folks in Maine spoke a whole different language and didn't care for those who couldn't speak it themselves" (p. 2).
Schmidt sets this story in 1912, basing it on events which occurred in the Phippsburg/Malaga Island area on the coast of Maine. It starts a little slow, but readers who hang in through the first three chapters will find that he doesn't shy away from emotionally-charged issues such as racism, greed, and social posturing. However, Schmidt's focus is ultimately on the wisdom gained not only by young Turner, but by a surprising number of characters most readers will write off as "hopeless" early in the novel.
John Newbery Medal Honor Book, 2005
Michael L. Printz Honor Book, 2005
The Lupine Award Honor Book, 2004