Also Known as Elvis

James Howe. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4424-4510-9
This thoughtful conclusion to the Misfits series begins with Skeezie as an adult, an expectant father reflecting on his summer between seventh and eighth grade. Skeezie's letters to his young self, aka "Little E," are sprinkled throughout the narrative, providing moments of quiet wisdom. At age 13, as Skeezie's friends take off in different directions to exciting vacation destinations, he stays put with drearier prospects: babysitting his younger sisters while his single mother works two jobs, as well as finding employment of his own to help make ends meet. Skeezie could do worse than landing a part-time job at the Candy Kitchen, his favorite hangout. There, he finds a mentor and confidante in a 19-year-old coworker, Steffi. She helps him sort out his feelings about his father, who makes an unexpected reappearance in Skeezie's life. In return, Skeezie offers advice on her relationship with a boy who wants to marry her and settle down. Once again, Howe shows uncanny understanding of adolescent concerns and vulnerabilities, painting a realistically complicated portrait of a boy's coming of age. Ages 10–14. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/28/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
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