The Most Important Thing: Stories About Sons, Fathers, and Grandfathers

Avi. Candlewick, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8111-1
In these seven short stories from Avi (Catch You Later, Traitor), the relationships among fathers, grandfathers, and sons are as varied as the clearly delineated characters themselves. There’s eighth-grader Paul, who is a virtual stranger to his war-veteran grandfather until they are unexpectedly thrown together for a week. In contrast, Luke, 12, is so connected to his father that they are able to communicate even after an accident physically tears them apart. Then there’s 11-year-old Ryan, who insists on interviewing his mother’s boyfriend for “the job of being my father” (“Two written references must be provided, one from kid,” reads the job description Ryan puts together). Whether good, bad, or indifferent, the feelings and outlooks of Avi’s young protagonists are deeply influenced by the men in their lives. Endings are not always happy or neat, but moments of discovery and recognition point the way to change. Avi’s deft incorporation of humor, heartache, and the occasional touch of the supernatural will draw readers in as they ponder how family ties bind in both positive and negative ways. Ages 10–up. Author’s agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2016
Release date: 04/26/2016
Genre: Children's
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