about the book
Went to bed at ten but took forever to get to sleep. Worse day ever. Found out that I was officially stupid and flunking out of summer school. Probably will have to repeat sixth grade.
Been sleeping only an hour when the lights snap on and mom comes rushing in; she grabs my dirty clothes off the floor, strips sheets off the lower bunk, and complains about the stink. Says the case workers are coming right from the hospital. This is no big thing. Mom takes in foster babies all the time. But what does this have to do with my room?
Moments later, two caseworkers arrive with Treasure, an 18-month-old girl with a bloodied bandage over one eye and a whole list of special needs. Behind them is a sullen kid who is obviously older than me and at least four inches taller. Nothing I say will change my mother’s mind. I am stuck with this stranger and it looks like he doesn’t want to be here neither. Not at all.
My name is Jarrett. I am eleven, asthmatic, African-American, and live in Newark, New Jersey. Kevon is twelve, a real big-deal star athlete, at least in his mind. He doesn’t get any friendlier as the days pass. Everything I enjoy is overshadowed by his annoying presence—taking step classes at the center, making movie trailers with my friends, and even basketball. He is all showing off in front of the girls, especially my crush, Caprice.
It goes from bad to worse. The nastier I am to him, the crueler he is to me. And this is rapidly escalating way past explosive farting, ripe foot odor, and disgusting toenail clippings.
I’m tired of my mother’s charity and sharing her attention. So here’s the plan. I’m going to find something that will humiliate this kid. Something that will get Kevon booted out my house. This is the last straw!
Coe Booth was born and raised in the Bronx area of New York City. Her youth was like many other inner city kids: public school, riding her bike and jumping double-dutch on the sidewalk, and enjoying the spray of the fire hydrant on a hot sticky summer’s day.
What made her special was becoming a writer in second grade. Of course, her novels were just loose-leaf pages stapled together and her readers were just her classmates. Her teachers often confiscated pages she worked on during class time. She “lost more novels that way!” Still she so enjoyed her followers “begging” for more…or that is how she prefers to remember it!
Now she is a full-time novelist and a part-time teacher in the MFA Writing for Children and Young Adults program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. In her free time, she mentors teen writers, plays the piano, is an amateur filmmaker, and a world traveler. You can also find her “wasting time” on Facebook and Twitter. Coe still makes her home in the Bronx.
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