Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 14 and up
# of pages: 265 p.
RAC Book: Yes
Alex Gregory is coping with his parents’ messy divorce and one night decides to break into the liquor cabinet, get drunk, steal his mother’s car, and drive to his father’s to tell him off. His plan doesn’t work out when he drives over his neighbor’s lawn and breaks her precious lawn gnome. Things only get worse when his judge overhears him saying that he doesn’t agree with his lawyer’s decision to plead guilty since no one got hurt. This particular judge has no time for drunk drivers and proceeds to give him 100 hours of community service at a local nursing home.
Solomon Lewis is the man Alex is assigned to visit during his 100 hours. At first Sol seems mean and mean and overly critical to Alex, but one day he brings his guitar and plays some jazz and Sol loves it. Soon Alex decides to work with two students at school to plan a jazz concert for the home. To his surprise, Sol ends up knowing a lot more about jazz than he thought. As Alex spends time with Sol he learns that he has a daughter who never comes to visit him and he also has emphysema. He wants to help make his last months memorable and meaningful, which is exactly what he does.
Sonnenblick, the author of Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, has written another great story about a teenager who loves music and wants to make a difference. This story proves that no matter what has happened in the past you can always start over and make things right. His stories show teenagers that they do not have to accept the stereotype that they are reckless, selfish, and an overall a menace to society. In fact, teenagers can do great things, if they want to.