Sunday, 13 September 2020

#SundayReview: The King of Jam Sandwiches

Sunday Review

Thirteen-year-old Robbie leads a double life. It's just Robbie and his dad, but no one knows that his dad isn't like most parents. Sometimes he wakes Robbie up in the middle of the night to talk about dying. Sometimes he just leaves without telling Robbie where he’s going. Once when Robbie was younger, he was gone for more than a week. Robbie was terrified of being left alone but even more scared of telling anyone in case he was put into foster care. No one can know. Until one day when Robbie has to show the tough new girl, Harmony, around school. Their first meeting ends horribly and she punches Robbie in the face. But eventually they come to realize that they have a lot more in common than they thought. Can Robbie's new friend be trusted to keep his secret?

Robbie is a strong character, driven by his plan to graduate and leave his father behind when he attends university, even though he's only 13 years old. This touching tale reminds me of Free Lunch by Rex Ogle, only it has a much different spin -- rather than deal with hunger, Robbie deals with surviving - and he does so by sticking to a plan and not taking risks. And when he reluctantly is drawn into Harmony's world, he stays on task and gets through the tough times, realizing that Robbie in the present is just as important as the future-Robbie he has planned for.

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