Michaels (Wart) is the unhappy son of an unhappy, unpopular science
teacher whom the students have christened “Toad.” The two live together
in great tension three years following the accidental death of the
boy’s mother and younger sister. “The Toad” vents his frustrations onto
his students, who in turn taunt his son. But Steve has other problems.
He’s the non-academic son of a demanding father. He wants to follow his
natural bent and become a mechanic, the sole area where he is both
happy and successful. Neither father nor son seems able to help the
other.... The resolution of this problem, as well as several connecting
story lines including a romantic angle, is nicely done. Carter is
strong on characterization--readers can connect with any of his readily
recognizable people--and Steve is a refreshing protagonist...far closer
to reality than some of the overly-wise, sophisticated teenagers of
many of today’s novels and TV programs.
--School Library Journal
genuinely touching and believable
story. The characters are...excellently portrayed.... I would
highly recommend this book to [those students who] are not college
bound, do not come from affluent families, who have a lot of family
problems, and who are going to be just average people when they get out
of High school.
--Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review
shows that heroism can come
in many different forms.
--Houston Post Dispatch
does a convincing job of
portraying a father/son relationship that, while gone terribly askew,
is rooted in real caring. --Bookli