My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Book Source: Checked out from my public libary
Mom says I’m way too serious for a kid my age. She says I’m like this forty-year-old man trapped in an eleven-year-old body.
Nicky is miserable. He used to live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. Then, his parents divorced in dramatic fashion. Now, he and his mom share a cramped one-bedroom apartment in a grimy area. His new class is repeating work he did last year; because he knows the answers, the local toughs have started calling him “brownnoser”. His mom, who used to garden and cook, is living on take-out food and wine. And she just brought home an ex-guide dog named Reggie from the pound, expecting Nicky to take care of it. Nicky wants nothing to do with Reggie, but the dog might be just what he needs to get on with his life.
The book gets off to a bit of a rocky start. Nicky’s voice sounds off in the first chapter, way too old for an almost-twelve-year-old boy. His wry humor and determination to solve the mystery of how Reggie ended up at the pound are engaging, though. His actions are believably impulsive. As events progress, the reader can see things about Nicky’s situation that he takes much longer to recognize, and will be pulling for him as he figures things out. In the end, Nicky Flynn won me over. A realistic, contemporary novel with humor and boy-appeal, suitable for middle-grade readers.