"I will be in Romania for six weeks this summer," is the bomb that Mike's dad drops as summer is just getting started. So, where does that leave Mike? Turns out he's going to live with his grandparents...the parents of his deceased mother. This will give him a chance to work on an engineering project with his grandfather, Poppy. Well, that's the story according to Dad. His big plan is for Mike to work on an artesian screw. Mike has no mathematical or scientific talents but his father just won't accept it. Now, Mike is sentenced to a summer of trying to meet his father's expectations yet again. When will Dad really see Mike for who he is? When will Dad love Mike for his own real gifts?
But Mike is in for a big surprise.
When he arrives at his grandparent's home, Poppy is sitting like a statue in his chair and isn't going to get out for much of anything because he's deeply grieving the loss of his son. Mike's grandmother, Moo, is trying to keep things normal and pitch in to help with the town fundraising efforts to help a friend adopt a child from Romania. Turns out there is no artesian screw at all. Instead there's a homeless man named Past, a talented guitarist/banker covered in tattoos and fearful of trying, and a boy named Mischa who lives in Romania, looks a lot like Mike and deserves a wonderful home. It's going to be Mike who ends up running all the efforts to get the $40,000 together that they need to complete the adoption process. Many lives weaving together filled with grief and hope and courage and fear and one great big opportunity. Can a thirteen year old boy pull this together? In the hands of Kathryn Erskine we hop, skip and jump through the moments of humor, poignancy, doubt and above all hope and determination. 247 pages Ages 9-13