Keplinger, Kody The Swift Boys & Me, 265 p. Scholastic Press, 2014. $17. Language: G; Mature Content: PG (affair mentioned, not described); Violence: PG (girl pushed down and kicked).
Nola has lived next door to the Swift boys for as long as she can remember and they have always been her best friends – especially Canaan, who is her same grade. Nola does almost nothing without one or all of the boys. Just as summer before middle school starts, however, the boys’ father walks out on the family, leaving every boy and their mother with gapping wounds. Canaan, especially, hurts Nola is almost unforgivable ways. Left her own devices, Nola tentatively makes new friends and a life for herself beyond the boys.
Keplinger’s novel is not a fluffy boy-next-door book. It feels deeply and painfully, poignantly laying out the demise of a previously life-long friendship. Don’t let the pink cover fool you; some scenes will choke you up. I don’t know if the emotions will go over students’ heads or not, but I do have a smaller group of girls who will buzz about it when they find it.
EL – OPTIONAL; MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS