Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Author: Keith Gray
There hasn’t been a tale of young men this good since Stand by Me hit the shelves. Keith Gray is an award-winning U.K. author who is making his U.S. debut with this fantastic young adult novel, and all I have to say as an avid reader is…Welcome to America!
This book is about the remarkable journey of four friends. Kenny is the only child of wealthy parents. He’s a bit slow, at times, but his main love comes from computers and knowing how to fix electronics. He dresses in designer duds, but has a tendency to lose things he absolutely has to have. Sim is a darker, cooler young man who comes from a two-parent home, but being that each parent works at different hours, it’s a lot like being a boy on his own. Blake is involved in step-family sagas. Mom and Dad are divorced, remarried to other people, and have “new” children from their second marriages. They always throw on a smile for Blake and make sure that everything is “perfect.”
Their fourth friend is Ross Fell. Ross is…dead. When our story begins, we are with Blake, Sim, and Kenny, still clothed in their funeral attire, trying to come to terms with the fact that their best friend has been hit by a car while riding his bike. They discuss the funeral, and get extremely angry that all the people who had made their friend’s life miserable had the audacity to show up at the ceremony and pretend to mourn. The three friends intend to get the hypocrites starting with Mr. Fowler, the hateful teacher; Munro, the school bully who tried to make Ross’ life miserable; and, Nina, the girl who broke their best friend’s heart.
But Blake has an idea. The one thing Ross had always wanted to do was travel to Ross, Scotland. He’d always joked about wanting to be Ross in Ross. So, instead of destroying property, Blake wants to honor his best friend by doing something that Ross wanted more than anything. But…how to do it? The three friends go to Ross’ family’s house, kidnap the ashes of their deceased buddy and take off on a train. What comes next is a remarkable journey that involves things like bungee-jumping; the Tramp’s Hotel; girls…let’s face it, the ultimate road trip.
The story is authentic, funny, charming, and real. It reminds us all that we choose our friends; they become our real family. A large number of children don’t get the perfect family, like I did, so their friends are the group that keeps them going when times get tough. There are twists in this story that will surprise any reader, and an underlying current of hope and faith that will make the rest of America welcome Keith Gray with open arms.