Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie
The eighth grade protagonist is quite the jazz band drummer. He'd love to be noticed by the queen bee - until those issues get sideswiped by his younger brother's leukemia diagnosis.
After Ever After is a sequel to this book.
This author has an exceptional voice. The guilt, the treatments, the resentment, the worry - it's painfully but very believably crafted. A better fit for sixth grade and up than upper elementary, but I think most adults would love to spend the afternoon with this book, too. This is an exceptionally good book.
"Mentally, he was Jeffrey - the boy who wanted to laugh and play and maybe watch Nickelodeon when things got too exhausting. And when the 'frowny people' came, they almost wanted to see Jeff be a sad, sick boy - to EARN the pot roast they were carrying, or whatever."
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