cover image POOL BOY


Michael Simmons, , read by Chad Lowe. . Listening Library, $25 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8072-2322-2

Lowe effectively tackles teendom, skillfully giving voice to 15-year-old Brett Gerson, star of the riches-to-rags tale that comprises Simmons' crisply formed debut novel. Listeners quickly discover that Brett is bitter and angry—which he blames on his father, who ruined their family when he was busted for insider trading and carted off to jail. Left high and dry without the cash and material playthings to which he had grown accustomed, Brett suffers a rude introduction to life on the other side of the tracks. He's forced to take a job with Alfie, the 70-year-old pool man who previously cleaned the Gersons' pool (before they had to sell the mansion). As Brett begins to work for a living, he bonds with Alfie and, not surprisingly, soaks up the elder man's fatherly concern and advice. Lowe is confident delivering Brett's sarcastic remarks and handles the tale's emotional, though not overdone, denouement with aplomb; he makes listeners believe Brett's subtle change of heart. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)