by: Andrew j. Graff
When two hardscrabble young boys think they’ve committed a crime, they flee into the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Will the adults trying to find and protect them reach them before it’s too late?
It’s the summer of 1994 in Claypot, Wisconsin, and the lives of ten-year-old Fischer “Fish” Branson and Dale “Bread” Breadwin are shaped by the two fathers they don’t talk about.
One night, tired of seeing his best friend bruised and terrorized by his no-good dad, Fish takes action. A gunshot rings out and the two boys flee the scene, believing themselves murderers. They head for the woods, where they find their way onto a raft, but the natural terrors of Ironsforge gorge threaten to overwhelm them.
Four adults track them into the forest, each one on a journey of his or her own. Fish’s mother Miranda, a wise woman full of fierce faith; his granddad, Teddy, who knows the woods like the back of his hand; Tiffany, a purple-haired gas station attendant and poet looking for connection; and Sheriff Cal, who’s having doubts about a life in law enforcement.
The adults track the boys toward the novel’s heart-pounding climax on the edge of the gorge and a conclusion that beautifully makes manifest the grace these characters find in the wilderness and one another. This timeless story of loss, hope, and adventure runs like the river itself amid the vividly rendered landscape of the Upper Midwest.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓 1/2
I have a soft spot for 10 year old boys right now so this book immediately appealed to me. This coming of age story reminded me of a modern day Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There was great description and character development. I really liked it. It was a little bit slow, but enjoyable.
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓
My favorite book this month! A wonderful boys adventure story – and I do love boys adventure stories – part of being a mom of 3 boys, I assume. Part Huckleberry Finn, part Lord of the Flies, part Stand by Me, a fun tale that follows two great kids as they run from a crime that they believe they committed. I loved every character in this book (except for one awful dad), and routed for every one of them to win and be happy. This book also made me laugh out – wait for the part about worm stew and Red Man tobacco – and more. If you love boys’ adventure stories, this is the book for you; and if not, this is a fun read anyway!