cover image Saving Marty

Saving Marty

Paul Griffin. Dial, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-399-53907-7

Griffin (When Friendship Followed Me Home) delivers a tender, sensitive portrayal of a boy beginning to wonder about his place in the world. Lorenzo Ventura, over six feet tall and 250 pounds at age 11, discovers a runt piglet left behind on his family’s Pennsylvania peach orchard. Bella, the family’s pet Lab, has just given birth to a litter of puppies, so she and Renzo both become caretakers of the small pig, which he names Marty after his late father, an Army sergeant. As the months pass, Renzo faces several life-changing situations, including his friend Paloma’s musical success and revelations about his father; Marty has become such a steadying force that Renzo can’t imagine life without him. Griffin infuses kindness into almost every scene, his well-drawn characters leave lasting impressions, and he gracefully delves into themes that include love, sacrifice, friendship, and accountability. Many readers will know a Renzo, the big-hearted kid who’s a little different and has both hardships and undiscovered talents. There are no easy solutions to the characters’ problems, nor outright villains, just struggling people navigating life. Ages 10–14. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.)