The tale of Denny “Donuts” Murphy and his disruptive nature in the halls of Blueberry Hills Middle would get old real quick for many readers. I’d have stopped reading myself if the motive had not been introduced in the first pages– Denny sits at his mother’s funeral with his dad. He’s a kid who is lost without his best friend, the person who stood by and cheered for him to succeed. Now she’s gone.
This is a funny, sad, and enlightening story. One I’ll remember for a long time. Matt Blackstone summed up his reasons for writing the book on the Acknowledgements page: The book was written for those lost. I hope it provides directions, comfort, a laugh, a smirk, hope, company, a distraction, a conversation starter, and/or a pillow.
I’m not lost, but SORRY YOU’RE LOST did all of that and more for me. I now have a book to recommend for boys and girls who may have experienced a loss of their own.
Matt’s first novel, A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE (published in 2011), is also an upper MG title.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014 PAGES: 312
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): When Denny “Donuts” Murphy’s mother dies, he becomes the world’s biggest class clown. But deep down, Donuts just wants a normal life—one where his mom is still alive and where his dad doesn’t sit in front of the TV all day. And so Donuts tries to get back into the groove by helping his best friend with their plan to get dates for the end-of-the-year school dance. When their scheme backfires, he learns that laughter is not the best medicine for all of his problems. Sometimes it’s just as important to be true to yourself.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT SORRY YOU’RE LOST
- The title of the book. Just sitting on the cover it looks harmless, but it’s the centerpiece of understanding for young Donuts.
- Manny, his partner and sort of friend. He’s a forty-year-old trapped in a teenage body. Full of quips and hilarious sayings. He’ll leave you flabbergasted.
- Donuts reaching out to the lunch lady for advice and friendship. Every kid needs an adult like this in their lives when their own parents can’t be there.
- How sad the way Denny’s father handles his grief. I’ve been witness to real life fathers dealing with a loss the same way. Tragic but helpful that there’s hope.
- I wanted to read what’s next in Denny’s life – a sign of great character building by the author.
My heart is pounding like a battering ram being rammed against a chest made from a door, and my breath is like a dog’s that just ran out the gate and took off down the block. I can’t find it – my breath, I mean. It ran away.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.