Author: Griffin, Paul
When Lorenzo adopts a runt piglet destined for auction, an unexpected, life-changing friendship forms.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 191793
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 72097
Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/01/17)
School Library Journal (09/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2017 On the heels of the acclaimed When Friendship Followed Me Home (2016), Griffin returns with another story celebrating the deep bond between man and animal. In rural western Pennsylvania, Lorenzo Ventura, who’s large for his 11 years, forges a deep connection with a pig that thinks he’s a dog. Lorenzo names the pig Marty after the deceased father he never met, but unfortunately his mother, struggling to keep their household afloat, says Marty’s got to go. As Marty grows and grows, his girth causing a number of problems large and small, Lorenzo presses for information about his father. Though slight, Griffin’s novel packs a powerful punch, particularly when Lorenzo receives some unexpected news—his father, struggling with PTSD, had in fact committed suicide. A bit unfocused at the beginning, the story gains momentum midway, culminating in an emotional and heartrending climax. Griffin captures a slice of Americana—the flyover farms of middle America—rarely depicted so sensitively in contemporary middle-grade fiction. Hand this one to fans of animal-centered stories. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2017 Gr 4–7—Eleven-year-old Lorenzo "Renzo" Ventura's army veteran and musician father died before he was born. A school assignment forces Renzo to consider what it means to be a hero, which has him think deeply about his dad. Renzo lives with his mom and grandfather, Double Pop, on a financially failing farm. A piglet is left behind instead of taken to auction, and Renzo decides to name it Marty, after his late father. Renzo also dreams of running away to California with his best friend Paloma Lee to play music and visit the site where his father's ashes are scattered. Renzo treats Marty like a pet, including racing him at a festival, where he and Paloma Lee play their music and are invited to perform on an live radio broadcast. Throughout the story, Renzo reads letters written by his father, leading him to wonder about a woman, Hana, who frequently appears in the letters. Griffin's novel explores the experience of losing one's home, uncovering difficult truths, and learning the meaning of heroism. Each character is well-developed, and Griffin does an excellent job depicting the financial struggles of life on a farm. Readers who enjoy music will appreciate the sheet music and lyrics interspersed throughout. Small mysteries also add intrigue and propel the plot. VERDICT This moving story will appeal to readers who love realistic fiction with music, animals, and a dash of humor.—Liz Anderson, DC Public Library - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.