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 rescue him.
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 reading.
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 Dog.
"I heard my childhood echoed in these pages many times."
-Laura Shea, student