Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA Houdini
When an author comes to speak to his class in a rundown area of Providence, Houdini decides to make money by writing his own novel. Rule #8 for Writing a Kid's Novel: Try to include a few lists in your novel. Kids like lists. Houdini is way more interesting than the kid the author wrote about. Rule #6: You have to like your characters or the reader won't care about them. (How can I not like myself?) Houdini chronicles his life as he and his friends start a leaf-raking business, befriend Old Man Jackson, a Vietnam War veteran with a seriously intimidating dog, and get even with the neighborhood bully, Angel. But it's hard to find a way to write about his dad losing his job or his brother, Franklin, who is first reported missing in action in Iraq and then still seems to be missing when he comes home. No matter what, Houdini and his friends rely on one another to figure out how to do the right thing. And Houdini discovers that writing and thinking about his friends and family lets him get to know them in completely new ways.
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