By Pat Schmatz
Candlewick Press, 2011. 226 pgs. Middle grade fiction
Travis is just starting eighth grade at a new school, having been forced by his grandfather to move. With no parents, Travis's one comfort in life has been his dog Rosco, but when he turned up missing, Grandpa made him leave him behind. Travis, who struggles with school and his temper, isn't looking for friends, but Velveeta, a girl in some of his classes, won't leave him alone, constantly asking questions and trying to find out Travis's secrets, even while she's trying to hide a few of their own. Her quirky personality, combined with an insightful teacher, might be just what Travis needs to get his life back on track.
This is one of those books that is sad and sweet and funny all at the same time. I loved watching Travis's progress, and Velveeta and other characters really added to the story. A little language, but it was realistic and of the milder variety. A good choice for tweens who are reluctant readers.