by Martine Leavitt
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9–While Heck, a talented artist and cartoonist, is spending the evening with his best friend, his single mom goes into "hypertime," a place where she never has to assume adult responsibilities. Once again, the 13-year-old assumes his role as superhero. Unfortunately, the causes of his mother's breakdown are beyond his control; she's lost her waitress job and they've been evicted from their apartment. He searches for her for three days, trying to do the Good Deeds that he hopes will allow him to find her. He struggles with a severe toothache, sleeps in a car, and tries to earn money for food. The climax comes after Heck befriends 18-year-old Marion Ewald, who is determined to release the "pocket creatures" that he thinks live in his jacket to their own planet. After the older boy jumps to his death, Heck finds his mother in the hospital and reminds her that he is not a superhero but a boy who also needs help. The help begins to come. Heck is a likable, resourceful character, trying to do the right thing in almost untenable situations. Secondary characters are also well developed. Most of the adults are supportive, willing to help, though largely uninformed. Most notable is the depiction of Heck's art teacher, who recognizes the boy's talent as well as his problems and provides subtle, sympathetic support. Credible characters are placed in recognizable situations to create a poignant, fast-paced, and believable look at homelessness, mental illness, and the way one boy copes with their impact.–Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
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