by Pat Schmatz

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Thirteen-year-old Travis has a secret: he can't read. But a shrewd teacher and a sassy girl are about to change everything in this witty and deeply moving novel.

Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he’s missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there’s just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he’s called on to read out loud. But that’s before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn’t take “pass” for an answer--a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it’s before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable characters--and captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763656140
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 09/13/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 514,779
Lexile: HL600L (what's this?)
File size: 438 KB
Age Range: 12 - 15 Years

About the Author

Pat Schmatz is the author of three previous novels for teens. She lives in rural Wisconsin.

I grew up in rural Wisconsin and spent most of my time reading, or in the woods, or reading in the woods. I always wanted to write, but tried for a while to be “practical” and “realistic.” I went to Michigan State University, and then to the University of California, Berkeley, and I learned many practical and realistic things, but mostly they just made me want to be impractical.
Now I live an impractical life. It’s not very realistic by grown-up standards, but it’s really, really good.

I received a letter from a kid in rural Wisconsin who wrote, “I’m just like Travis.” His teacher enclosed a note telling me that this kid generally hated books and school, but when they read Bluefish together in class, he loved it. I visited that school later in the year and met that kid. He asked me some wonderfully piercing questions about the book and the characters. I felt like he knew them better than I did. It was like seeing Travis get up off the page and come to life.
Connections like that are the most magical part of being an author. I decided I wanted to be a writer after reading The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. That book reached me in a way that nothing else had. It made me feel less alone in the world. If anything I write can do the same for someone else — that’s what I want.

Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:

1. I grew up in a summer camp for boys.

2. I was run over by a motorboat when I was twenty-one years old.

3. I probably know more Brady Bunch trivia than anyone you will ever meet.

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