The Paper Cowboy

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It is the 1950s. “High Noon” reigns at theaters and Joe McCarthy rides roughshod over anyone he chooses. Tommy wants to be a cowboy, but he is a bully, and one of his pranks threatens to destroy some people who are kind to him. His mother is mentally ill and beats him, his father won’t stand up to her, Tommy’s sister is badly burned in an accident, and his two little sisters are often left in Tommy’s charge. He is pretty angry and unhappy and takes those feelings out on those who are weaker. He knows it’s wrong, but can’t seem to help himself from doing it. Can he turn his life around?

Kristin Levine has written a gripping historical novel that is based on true happenings in her father’s life. It is hard to root for Tommy (the main character) a lot of the time, and that is quite a risk for the author, but she pulls it off. This is a gritty story with challenging, thought-provoking situations and an array of fascinating characters. Young readers will get a real picture of the times and learn a good deal, all the while being captured by this riveting story.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date 2014-Sep-04
ISBN 9780399163289 Buy this Book
Issue November 2014
Category Tweens


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