Rocky Road

Rocky Road

3.8 25
by Rose Kent
     
 

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Ice cream warms the heart, no matter what the weather.
That's the Dobson family motto. Whenever things get tough, they break out the special heart-shaped bowls and make sundaes. The road has been especially rocky lately for Tess and her deaf little brother, Jordan. Their plucky Texan mother talks big, but her get-rich-quick business schemes have only

Overview

Ice cream warms the heart, no matter what the weather.
That's the Dobson family motto. Whenever things get tough, they break out the special heart-shaped bowls and make sundaes. The road has been especially rocky lately for Tess and her deaf little brother, Jordan. Their plucky Texan mother talks big, but her get-rich-quick business schemes have only landed them in serious financial hot water.
Ma's newest idea is drastic. She abruptly moves the family to snowy Schenectady, New York, where she will use the last of their savings to open her dream business: an ice cream shop. (Too bad the only place she could find an apartment is in a senior citizens' complex.) Tess wants to be excited about this plan, but life in Schenectady is full of new worries. Who will buy ice cream in their shop's run-down neighborhood? What will happen when their money runs out? Worst of all is Ma herself-she's famous for her boundless energy and grandiose ideas, but only Tess and Jordan know about the dark days when she crashes and can't get out of bed. And Tess can't seem to find the right words to talk to Ma about it.
This moving story of family, community, and ice cream proves that with a little help from the people around us, life really can be sweet-and a little nutty-just like Rocky Road.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Tess Dobson's life is complicated. Her younger brother, Jordan, is deaf and prone to bouts of behavior as "FrankenJordan." Her mother walks the narrow ledge of bipolar disorder, a walk that always seems to end in "shooting stars" or a crash. To make things even more complicated, Ma has decided to move the family from Texas to Schenectady, NY, where she uses all of their savings to open an ice-cream shop. Despite the promises that Schenectady will hold all the answers to their problems, this new town brings its own set of complications, which include living at a senior citizens' complex. Tess struggles with these difficulties but unexpectedly finds the support she never knew she needed. Through it all, there is ice cream. This book is sweet and leaves a relatively pleasant taste much like the rocky-road ice cream that serves as a metaphor for Tess's life. Due respect is paid to the challenges of having a parent who suffers from bipolar disorder, as well as the disorder itself. Tess seems much older than her 12 years but this is in keeping with her family situation. Her involvement with peer mediation is slightly contrived but it is necessary to her growth. As the Dobsons say, "Ice cream warms the heart…," and so will this book.—Naphtali L. Faris, Saint Louis Public Library, MO
Publishers Weekly
Financial troubles, bipolar disorder, and the pain of being the new kid are just a few of the themes explored in this sweet story about 12-year-old Tess Dobson, who is wise--and strong--beyond her years. She has to be: her eight-year-old younger brother, Jordan, is deaf, and her single mother, Delilah, is prone to wacky business ideas, money problems, and "Shooting Stars," Tess's term for her mother's bouts of depression. After being evicted, Delilah moves Tess and Jordan from Texas to Schenectady, N.Y.--into a retirement community. Delilah plans to open an ice cream shop, and although things are going according to plan (Tess and Jordan are making friends in school and in their new apartment complex), Tess feels uneasy: "My whole life I've wanted to trust Ma, but that's impossible if you're around her more than an hour." When Shooting Stars strike on the day of the store's big opening, Tess must rely on her new friends. Though the narrative runs long and things tie up a bit too neatly, Kent's (Kimchi and Calamari) sympathetic heroine and heartening conclusion should satisfy readers. Ages 8-12. (June)
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
When Tess Dobson moves from San Antonio, Texas to Schenectady, New York, she is miserable, physically and emotionally. First, the car's heater doesn't work and it is January. Second, moving means leaving her friends and a way of life she loves. Third, her deaf brother is having a hard time understanding what's going on and is acting out in frustration. Once the Dobsons settle in, Tess is having to make new friends, start a new school and get comfortable in a new apartment. As it turns out, Tess ends up in the principal's office for "attacking" a smart-mouthed boy with a pear. Their apartment is in a building inhabited by white haired retirees. But more than anything, Tess is worried about her mother; Delilah Dobson does not have a good track record with living situations or jobs. Tess has reason to worry, her mother's mission in Schenectady is to open an ice cream shop, and unbeknownst to Tess, she has already purchased a shop in a sad downtown neighborhood. The months between their arrival in Schenectady and the opening of the shop is filled with new opportunities and major setbacks. Tess finds it hard to give her mother the benefit of the doubt, but as she makes friends with peers and seniors, Tess actually begins to enjoy her new northern home. Middle grade readers will recognize the strains of the mother-daughter relationship and the struggle to fit in to new places. Tess feels that her interest in crafts separates her from her peers, but as is often the case, she finds she has more in common with her peers than she initially realizes. The intergenerational plot line is predictable but remains an important reminder that friends come in all ages. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
VOYA - Robin Guedel
Ice cream warms the heart, no matter what the weather. At least that is what Tess Dobson is hoping for when her mother abruptly moves the family from Texas to chilly Schenectady, New York. The problem is, Tess's mother has done crazy things like this before to her and Jordan, her younger brother who is deaf. Tess's mom uses the last of the family's savings to open up an ice cream store in a bad end of town. Tess has high hopes in her new town but is also worried about her mother's manic depression. Her mother does not think she has a problem, but really needs medication. Tess and Jordan quickly make friends in the old folk's apartment complex into which they have moved. The senior residents become their extended family, while their mother frantically prepares for the grand opening of the ice cream store. Kent does a good job of creating likable characters and a fun story. It would have been nice to see more details about having a deaf sibling and the obstacles that come with that disability. Most teen girls will dive into this quick, easy read. Reviewer: Robin Guedel
Kirkus Reviews
Yet another story about a gutsy and resourceful girl who overcomes her dysfunctional family environment with hard work and the help of her community. At 12, Tess is the primary caregiver and interpreter for her deaf younger brother; her shiftless father is absent, and her mother, Delilah, suffering from untreated bipolar disorder, makes a range of poor decisions that endangers them all. Evicted from their home in San Antonio, Texas, the family moves abruptly to Schenectady, N.Y., where Delilah hopes to open an ice-cream parlor in the depressed downtown area, and the pursuit of her scheme leads the family into even more trouble. Tess has many worries, but she perseveres, picking up some crucial problem-solving skills from her new classmates and neighbors along the way. The exaggerated Texas twang of the dialogue is grating at times, and the narrative has many bleak moments, but the story is buoyed by supporting characters who are kind, wise and relentlessly upbeat. Readers who connected with Lisa Schroeder's It's Raining Cupcakes (2010) will find this familiar terrain. (ice-cream recipes, "Ice Cream Flavors and the Inner You") (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375963421
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
06/08/2010
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Rose Kent, a former naval officer, lives in Niskayuna, New York, just east of Schenectady, with her husband and children in a house with a dozen ice cream scoopers. She is an ardent believer in the redemptive power of a sundae.

Her first book, Kimchi & Calamari, was nominated for several state library awards. Visit her at www.rosekent.com.

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Rocky Road 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Codename-Horse More than 1 year ago
This is probably the best book ever! I am 12 years old and this book was still awesome. I would recommend it for 11-14!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whoever said save your money what a nasty person you are you it takes a lot of time to write these novels and then having someone say tgat this book was a waste of time wow yyou have no sympathy and your heartless lets see you try to write a novel cant wait to read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because it just about me! Cause i was moving from Arizona to New Mexico. This story felt like it was ment for me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book forces you to think deep about things we usually just ignore. I found this book kind of inspiring, and heartwarming. Good for ages 10+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read.Its like a tall,cold milkshake.Sweet,sastisfying and worth every penny.
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I luv this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much when ever i read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive only read the sample but im going to buy it soon.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!!!!!!!"
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Carlie Gasia More than 1 year ago
i enjoyed this book very much. the plot was unique enough to keep me interested, and the overall story was hilarious. i could totally relate to the characters. recommend it to any girl from the age of 10 to 110
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h2ogal More than 1 year ago
Is it worth it? And y is it so expensive?
Alyssa Camden More than 1 year ago
absolutely loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"SAVE YOUR MONEY THIS BOOK IS A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME TO READ TAKE IT FROM SOMEONE THAT WAS STUDIED ENOUGHT TO READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!"