In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.
I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't my favorite YA read of 2011. I'm a super fan of Gary Schmidt's "The Wednesday Wars" and "Okay For Now," and this reminded of those at times. Particulary "Okay For Now," both being historical and the main character befriends a charasmatic elderly lady. I preferred "Okay For Now" over this one, for the narrator's sense of heart and wit, but Jack is still a fun voice to read. I liked that it was an "entirely true and the wildly fictional" account of Jack's childhood. I loved the scenes of he and the elderly neighbor composing obituaries together.