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Author: Benton, Justin
During the Great Depression, thirteen-year-old Cub helps his father distill and sell moonshine, despite Prohibition. The boy begins to question his father's lifestyle. When his father becomes involved with some gangsters, Cub must race against time to save his father's life and their future.
Kirkus Reviews (08/15/19)
Booklist (+) (09/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2019 *Starred Review* Cub and his father have made illegal moonshine for a few years in order to survive. They do what they must in the isolated hills of eastern Tennessee during the Great Depression. Cub has never attended school, having instead been infrequently tutored by a visiting teacher. Now he’s 13 and his father says he must attend school to keep authorities from separating them and taking Cub away. Fear and concern about the illegality of their operation have bothered Cub for some time, and his worries prove legitimate when he and his father attract undesirable attention from the sheriff and a mobster, Mr. Salvatore. Cub tries to stand up to Salvatore, but his bravery results in an “accident” at the still that leaves his father severely burned. Knowing Salvatore is behind this, Cub convinces his father they must find a way out. Will their plan work? Will they survive? The smooth writing and Cub’s distinct narrative voice make this debut novel compelling from the start. Benton’s spot-on description of the sparse mountain setting with its social isolation and desperate poverty draw readers into the corrupt, complex times of the Great Depression. Though these elements are grim, they are balanced by strong themes of family and trust. When combined with the tense, realistic plot, a gripping piece of historical fiction emerges. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.