27 8 / 2014
"Diggy has spent all thirteen years of his life with his father, having been left on Pop’s doorstep as a baby when Diggy’s mother famously left town riding a tractor. Diggy’s classmate Wayne—almost a year older—now finds himself in a similar situation when his mother’s death leads to his dad’s alcoholism spiraling out of control and dumping Wayne at Pop’s place in a drunken fit, with the bombshell that Pop is actually Wayne’s father. Diggy must learn to adjust to having a brother—especially one “from town”—at the height of an already stressful season for him: he’s being groomed by the reigning champion 4-H steer-raiser (on whom he also has a major crush) to take over her top slot with his calf, Joker. Meanwhile, Wayne gets a steer of his own in order to fit in better with his new family while still trying to get a handle on his grief and shifting relationships. Petruck expertly manifests the gruff ways that teenage guys—especially brothers—express vulnerability coated with a veneer of hobbies and practical joking, and she slowly draws her characters together over steer grooming and model rockets. The parallels between Diggy and Wayne’s feelings of abandonment are subtly but divergently developed; as Diggy throws himself into obtaining future goals to win approval, Wayne dives into the past, hoping that by finding Diggy’s mother, he can achieve closure on his own mother’s death. Pop is also a character in his own right, dispensing world-wise advice, learned from his flawed past. It’s the warm but difficult relationship between Diggy and Wayne that makes this one a purple ribbon (with a 4-H glossary and practical joke handbook for city folks in the back matter)."
26 8 / 2014
I propose a motion to make Story the official Stephen and Rory ship name. Shades of London people, are you with me?
This is a pretty good idea.
22 8 / 2014
"In the middle of all this, as Sean slips out of his jacket, he looks over his shoulder at me and he smiles at me, just a glancing, faint thing before he turns back to Tommy. I’m quite happy for that smile, because Dad told me once you should be grateful for the gifts that are the rarest."