Thirteen-year-old Guy tries to make the best of a difficult situation with the help of his beloved dog and a new friend.
Montana is a long way from California. Guy and his mother have moved in with his grandfather after his father’s “unannounced departure.” Back home, Guy skateboarded, surfed, and played video games with his friends. Here the kids only seem to talk about cars, fishing, and hunting.
Life at Big Sky Middle School is also a disappointment. Guy is bored in math class and over his head in English. He quickly becomes a target for Brad Mullen, class bully. But at least Guy has his beloved Border collie, Streak, and eventually he makes a friend, his classmate Luke Grant. Soon Guy and Luke hatch a plan to train Streak to compete against Brad Mullen and his dog at the town’s Frisbee catching competition. But the rivalry between Guy and Brad escalates until an impulsive wager pits the boys head to head and places Streak in jeopardy.
Sneed B. Collard II offers young readers an affecting, realistic portrait of an adolescent boy who must learn to cope with conflicts and challenges in an unfamiliar environment and to accept changes in his life that are beyond his control.
“An easy read with believable characters, the story has enough action to keep reluctant readers interested…. Young dog lovers will especially enjoy Collard’s detailed accounts of the two competitions in which these rivals and their pooches participate.” ―School Library Journal
“[An] affecting first novel about a sensitive yet resilient eighth grader struggling to find his place in his new world.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Guy is an appealing, sympathetic protagonist, whose straightforward narrative describes the challenges of uprooting, making friends, and facing difficult people and life events.” ―Booklist
“A veteran nonfiction writer, Collard shows in his first novel that he can construct a suspenseful plot and create believable characters.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“This would be a great story to read aloud to a fifth grade or middle school class. There are many issues that can be discussed including bullying, friendship, mental illness, divorce, cruelty to animals, and moral values. It’s also an easy book to connect to as Guy’s personality is well created and one that cries out for understanding.” ―Examiner
Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award ―American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2005
Flicker Tale Children’s Book Awards ―North Dakota Library Association, 2006-2007
Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Middle School / Junior High) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2006-2007
Young Adult Top Forty ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, 2005-2006
Charlotte Award (Nominee, Intermediate List) ―New York State Reading Association, 2008
Texas Lone Star Awards (Nominee) ―Texas Library Association, 2007-2008
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (Special Recognition) ―The Poetry Center at Passiac County Community College, 2006
Writing Competition Winner (Children’s Book Category) ―Dog Writers Association of America, 2005
AR Level: 4.4
F&P: W, Gr 6, Genre RF
Themes: Bullies, Dogs, Sports, Moving
BISAC 1: JUV000000 Juvenile Fiction/General
BISAC 2: JUV002070 Juvenile Fiction/Animals/Dogs
BISAC 3: JUV032050 Juvenile Fiction/Sports and Recreation/Miscellaneous