|Summer of Owen Todd|
Author: Abbott, Tony
In the touristy town of Cape Cod, eleven-year-old Owen faces a dilemma when his best friend Sean is sexually abused by a trusted adult, but warns Owen not tell anyone what is happening.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.90
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 192476
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 72089
Kirkus Reviews (09/01/17)
School Library Journal (+) (08/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/11/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2017 Gr 5–8—It's the summer after fifth grade, and lifelong best friends Owen and Sean are looking forward to a vacation full of baseball, go-karts, beach trips, and, now that they are getting older, a bit more independence in their Cape Cod hometown. Things don't go as planned, however, when Sean's single mom hires Paul to help look after Sean, who depends on insulin injections to manage his diabetes, while she goes to work at a new job in a neighboring town. Paul, a friendly older guy from church, seems nice enough, if a little strange, but before long, Sean tells Owen about some uncomfortable incidents between them. As Paul's behavior escalates into child abuse and sexual assault, Sean continues to confide in Owen, but threatens suicide if Owen tells anyone else what is happening. The story is told from Owen's point of view as he struggles with how to handle the situation and what might happen if he breaks his promise to keep Sean's secret. Ultimately, witnessing Sean's abuse firsthand spurs Owen to action, and he records the assault on his father's cell phone before telling his parents everything. While doing so costs Owen his friendship with Sean, Paul is eventually arrested and Sean is able to get help. An author's note at the close of the book further encourages readers to speak out if they or someone they know is being abused, and includes contact information for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network). The setting is particularly well drawn, and woven into the story are threads about family, friendship, trust, courage, and growing up. VERDICT Unsettling and at times painful, this book offers an empathetic portrayal of a difficult and important subject.—Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/01/2017 It’s summer on Cape Cod, and 11-year-old Owen’s best friend, Sean, has a babysitter, a twenty-something man from his church. Why a sitter for a rising sixth-grader? Because Sean’s single-parent mother has a new job an hour’s drive away and, because Sean’s a diabetic, she’s concerned about his being left alone. All seems well and good until Sean tells Owen that the sitter is molesting him and that if Owen tells anyone, he will kill himself. But how long can Owen remain silent and, if he tells, what will happen? Abbott’s treatment of a terribly thorny topic is not perfect. Sean’s original motivation for not telling the truth—that he doesn’t want his mother to quit her job—feels a bit slender, and Owen’s Hamlet-like indecisiveness is sometimes inconsistent. But overall, Abbott has done a fine job of dramatizing the book’s central problem. Books about abuse, especially of boys, are rare for this age group, so happily, this is a good example, and one hopes that it will spark much-needed discussion. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.