Levi is trying to prove himself - to his mom, who tends to baby him, especially after his serious childhood illness that still flares up; to his father, who is unreliable and wants Levi to be cool; to his older brother, who is always studying for medical school; and to his best friend, Tam, who seems more interested in a new friend these days. Levi mostly has something to prove to himself: maybe he's small, maybe he can make people laugh, but what else does he have to offer? Can he handle boxing?
This book is a companion to House Arrest, which tells Timothy's story.
I really liked this book. Levi is an imperfect character who's easy to root for, with an imperfect but loving family who are also compelling. Written in verse, interspersed with occasional shape poetry, it's visually appealing and told really well.
There's a lot going on; Levi lies to his mother about going to chess club, but doesn't want to give his father the satisfaction of knowing how much he actually likes boxing. As Tam gets busier with volleyball and he competes with Kate for her attention, Levi crosses from mischief-maker to revenge-taker. Levi's relationship with his brother is complex; loving but distant, grateful but tense. His struggle to live a normal life after some major health issues gives a credible reason for his mother to be so overprotective, and many readers will relate to his wish to be more adult and to remain safe with people he trusts at the same time.
"I don't have the words
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