STICKS AND STONES NEVER BROKE ANY OF JESSE''S BONES, BUT NAMES
REALLY, REALLY HURT HIM.
Jesse is only thirteen years old, yet he cannot help but feel
that he is much older. With each passing year, Jesse''s life gets
tougher and tougher. It seems the older he gets, the more difficult
growing up becomes. He''s picked on because of his acne, his
Attention Deficit Disorder and because he can''t keep up with the
latest styles and trends.
He dreams of flying planes-until he sees planes used as weapons
of mass destruction in New York City. War is declared on the other
side of the world, but the bullies take the president''s words for
their own: "You''re either with us or you''re against us!"
Jesse can only wonder when a coalition of forces will come and
Like most victims, Jesse settles into a routine of avoidance and
escape. That is, until high school begins and he meets Mr. Beckwith
and the members of his poetry group. Mr. Beckwith is the first
adult that Jesse feels a connection with, and the students of his
poetry group seem to inspire him and fill him with hope after every
But Jesse soon learns that Mr. Beckwith and he have something in
common-they are both casualties of a war that looks to have no end.
It''s not long before Jesse sees that adults are too busy acting
like children to notice what is happening to their own children. He
begins to wonder what all the fuss is about growing up, because
growing up is nothing like what Jesse had been promised.
"...some deft and evocative writing."
-Stuart Ross, author of Buying Cigarettes for the
"I heard my childhood echoed in these pages many times."
-Laura Shea, student