By Karen Harrington
Little, Brown and Company, 2016.
Wayne Kovok is used to talking - a lot. He uses facts to cheer up his mom, impress his sort of girlfriend, and to change the subject when he has to. Then his uncle is taken by a war - and right when he could use his voice to change the subject the most, it's gone too. Now Wayne has to navigate his life of AFTER without a voice as he discovers new relationships with his father, his grandfather, and Denny Rosenblatt - the boy at his speech therapist's office.
I did not expect to identify so much with Wayne Kovok - but, for me, he is one of the most likable children's narrators in a long time. He is sharp and perceptive and wildly funny and at times so painfully melancholy. He's not alone - each character in this story is unique and interesting and is developed as a carefully planned out person. Middle fiction is full of bildungsroman - but this is one worth paying extra attention to. A beautifully written, emotionally rewarding book that readers shouldn't miss.