In Mike We Trustby P. E. Ryan
Honesty.He wanted it. He craved it.He could barely remember what it was.
When Garth's uncle comes to visit, he's like a breath of very needed fresh air. Mike is laid-back and relaxed—and willing to accept Garth for who he is, without question. For the first time in a long while, Garth feels like he's around someone who/blockquote>/p>… See more details below
Honesty.He wanted it. He craved it.He could barely remember what it was.
When Garth's uncle comes to visit, he's like a breath of very needed fresh air. Mike is laid-back and relaxed—and willing to accept Garth for who he is, without question. For the first time in a long while, Garth feels like he's around someone who understands him.
But before long Garth is helping Mike with some pretty mysterious things and finds himself keeping secrets from everyone around him. He's forced to wonder: Is his uncle Mike really who he says he is, and can Garth trust him? More importantly, can Garth trust the person he's becoming?
P. E. Ryan has crafted a clever and compelling novel that asks the question: How far will you go for your family, to find yourself?
Gr 9 Up
Fifteen-year-old Garth Rudd, more comfortable with his homosexuality than his 5' 2" stature, is grieving his father's recent death. Forced to get a job, his understandably overprotective mother has asked him to temporarily keep his sexual orientation secret. When his father's estranged twin appears for a summer visit, Garth's trust is easily gained. Secretly Mike helps him navigate the unfamiliar waters of gay relationships by taking him to bookstores and facilitating dates with Adam, a school friend. Before long, Mike exploits Garth's trust and encourages him to quit his job, lie to his mother, and secretly help him collect money for "charities" instead. Soon the scams become apparent and the teen realizes the truth about his uncle. Now the teen must face his friends and his mother. The author has created a story with a pace that does not falter and a resolution that is realistically achieved. Garth is an appealing character, filled with contradictions, vulnerable while seeking strength, honest with himself but surprised at how easily he is able to lie to others. The author's use of language, at times brilliantly translucent, provides insightful dialogue. This contemporary coming-of-age story set in Richmond, VA, subtly and clearly provides a fresh perspective on teenage sexual identity by imbedding it into the context of the bigger issue of truth.-Sue Lloyd, Franklin High School, Livonia, MI
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 1 MB
- Age Range:
- 13 - 17 Years
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In Mike We Trust
By P. Ryan
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009
All right reserved.
They were just finishing dinner when they heard a screech of tires, followed by several taps of a car horn. The dog began to bark, and Garth's mom flinched and looked up from her plate. She glanced toward the window that opened onto the side street, then gave Garth the worried expression he'd grown so used to over the past year and a half. Relax, he wanted to tell her, it's nothing. They lived in the middle of Richmond, surrounded by other houses. Since when was the sound of a car horn a reason to flinch?
The furrow in her brow deepened at the sound of footsteps on the front porch, and she nearly dropped her fork when they heard the knock, same pattern as the horn.
"Who in the world could it be at this hour?" she asked, peering at the clock on the wall.
"I'll get it." Garth got up from the table and crossed through the living room, focusing on the tall, lanky shadow on the other side of the door's beveled glass. He shushed Hutch, who was circling his feet like a shark, and called out, "Who is it?"
"Santa Claus!" a voice said.
Garth looked back at his mom, then turned to the door again.
"Captain America! Come on, it's me! Open up!"
The voice sounded jovial and vaguely familiar. He undid the chain and the deadbolt, and eased the door open.
"Hey, hey, hey! Look at you, short stuff!"
At fifteen, Garth barely reached five feet two. He was aching for the growth spurt that seemed to have taken over all the other guys his age, and he hated being called "short stuff." He hated "shorty" and "shrimp" and "little bit," and he usually lashed out at anyone who used such nicknames. But he said nothing now. He stood frozen, amazed.
Standing before him—or so it seemed in that first, arresting moment—was his dad's ghost.
In general, Garth tried not to dwell on the accident. When he caught his mind drifting toward it, he would force himself, instead, to concentrate on his dad before the event, on the man Jerry Rudd had been. He made mental lists of attributes:
Corny joke teller.
Sailing nut. That last one was how his dad had described himself, anyway. He'd loved sailing more than anything else and he'd dreamed of one day building his own boat "completely out of wood, like they did it in the old days—right down to the pegs that hold it together."
He'd never gotten the chance.
Garth didn't share his dad's passion for sailing, but he'd inherited—possibly by sheer will—his love of ships. In Garth's case, these were miniatures, usually made of plastic because the wooden models were so expensive. His room was filled with them. They were lined up along his windowsill and dominated his bookcase. The largest—a handsome, highly detailed Batavia—spanned the top of his dresser.
Most days, the ships made him feel connected to his dad, but the nights were a different matter entirely.
His recurring nightmare, he'd decided, was like being strapped into a movie seat in the front row of the scariest horror film imaginable. He was forced to watch, over and over again, his dad and his dad's friend, Mr. Holt, try to outrun the sudden storm on the Chesapeake Bay. The sailboat was a twelve-foot Sunfish. Mr. Holt was manning the tiller; Garth's dad was working the line for the sail. Always, in the nightmare, they were enjoying themselves at first. Even as the dark sky rained down on them, they joked about man versus nature. Then things turned serious—fast. They had to shout through the wind and the rain to hear each other. They tried one maneuver, then another, but nothing worked. There was a moment too awful for Garth to wrap his brain around wherein both men realized that, all jokes aside, they were up against a force they couldn't possibly beat.
And then it happened. In one version, the mast snapped off. In another (like last night's), the boat just turned sideways, sail and all, throwing his dad and Mr. Holt into the water. Either way, the ending was the same: they tried to cling to the sinking hull; they fought to survive. But eventually the stormy bay filled their lungs.
Just another nightmare, Garth always told himself as he tried to fall back to sleep. Get it out of your head. But there was no getting it out completely, because although he hadn't witnessed it, the accident was very real. His dad had been dead for over a year and a half. His body—along with Mr. Holt's—had been recovered in a search-and-rescue mission following the storm, and their funerals had been held one day apart.
Nothing had been the same since then. Regardless of whether or not he dwelled on the event, or how many ships he built, life had become one steady, uphill climb.
The ghost—dressed in faded jeans, scuffed-up sneakers, and a yellow T-shirt that bore a cartoon dragon eating ice cream—wasn't a ghost, of course. But it took Garth a moment to realize this.
"You're Uncle Mike," he said, still holding on to the door.
His uncle grinned and held his hands out like a showman. "And you're Nephew Garth. Is there a door prize?"
No beard, Garth thought. That's what's different. When he had his beard, it was hard to even tell they were twins.
Not that he'd seen the guy too often; his dad and his uncle hadn't been very close. Four, maybe five times over the years, Uncle Mike had shown up out of the blue for a visit. And he'd come to the funeral, of course—arriving at the last minute, having driven from some other state.
"Well," Uncle Mike said, chuckling, "are you going to invite me in, or should I just . . . get lost?"
Excerpted from In Mike We Trust by P. Ryan Copyright © 2009 by P. Ryan. Excerpted by permission.
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