Neurotic, eleven-year-old Charles Harrisong lives in Normal Illinois with his family, aka one of the most embarrassing thing in his life. His family is large, poor, and anything but normal. When his older sister Clara runs for seventh grade class president, her campaign posters are defaced by a popular clique at school. Charles’ parents decide to pull the kids out of school and move the entire family onto a houseboat in the Alabama gulf coast.
Tween readers will no doubt relate to Kate Klise’s character Charles Harrisong. Charles is convinced that his family is the most abnormal family in the entire state of Illinois. His dad drives an old truck, their house is painted mustard yellow, and because they’re poor, he can’t wear anything of the cool clothes the other kids at school. Readers who have ever felt alienated, different, or embarrassed will understand his anxieties. However, the Harrisong family sticks together and provides a great example of a loving family.
Genre: contemporary realistic
Reading/interest level: ages 9 to 12
Similar titles: All Shook Up by Shelley Pearsall