This is one of those novels usually referred to as ‘poignant’. I don’t know about you, but I like a poignant novel from time to time, in between the post-apocalyptic depressing stories and all those bodies that abound in the murder mysteries. A little ‘cheer me up’, you know what I mean?
This is a sweet story, set in 1980s Florida, featuring 14 year old Jesse, who lives with his older brother Tyler, and his Aunt AJ and his Uncle Art, to whom he always refers as The Old Man. They live on the St. Johns River, where his uncle makes a living crabbing. Whenever possible, the boys help out on the boat. His parents have been dead since he was about 3. He has developed a phobia about large sea creatures, such as dolpins, sharks, etc, which has carried over into fear of deep water and of the dark.
It is a YA, but yet has more depth than the usual self-obsessed teenager novel. Jesse’s nemesis at school is a big kid who bullies everyone, and seems to get into fights with impunity. His father and older brother are just recently home from a stint in prison, his home life is unsavory. He takes out his anger and pain on his fellow students.
Jesse discovers an old photo of his uncle as a boxer, and asks his uncle to teach him how to box so he can defend himself against that boy.
At one point, the bully taunts him, telling him he knows nothing about his mother, and that his aunt is feeding him lies about her, so he sets off on a quest to find out the truth.
I don’t really know much about this author. other than he lives in Japan with wife and kids, and has a multivolume paranormal mystery series. So if you want a lovely, easy, soft read, this is for you.