Publisher: EgmontUSA (November 24, 2009)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
For Trevor Musgrove, life isn't always bright and cheerful. His family just moved to Hedley Gardens, a tough housing project its residents call "Deadly Gardens." He goes to school with rich kids who have everything, while he has to work to afford soccer cleats. It doesn't help that the best athlete in school, Xander Pierce, happens to have it out for him. Mistakenly enrolled in an advanced science class taught by an odd but engaging teacher, Trevor is thrown headfirst into the world of natural science. Through all this, he will learn that life can spring up in the darkest places-- maybe even in Deadly Gardens.
Review: I haven't read a MG book in so long and I'm so glad that I got the chance to read this one!
Mary Amato writes in a way that captures the voice of a preteen boy so well that it feels as if you are witnessing the real thing. I absolutely loved reading about Trevor. He's living with his younger brother & sister and mother. They live in these bad apartments and don't have a lot of money. I loved that this book dealt with real life issues and all of which were written in a way that a younger audience can deal with.
One of the issues in the book is Trevor doesn't have enough money to be on a club soccer team. You can tell that he has a passion for the sport and as I was reading the book, I just felt bad for him and the things he went through. Also, I envied Trevor's artistic talents. Drawing was another passion of his and he used it wisely. He started his own little business around school and drew stuff for his little brother. And at the start of each chapter there are illustrations and I thought those were nice!
Another big aspect of the book is Trevor's science class. He is put in Summit Science -an advanced class- by mistake. His science teacher is one of those teachers that always keeps the class interesting and fun instead of the more common reading out of the textbook type as well as being a teacher that really cared about his students.
I really enjoyed the character of Diamond. She lives in the same apartment building as Trevor and is always singing throughout the book as she has dreams of becoming a famous singer one day. Amato does a great job describing a situation that Diamond and Trevor face. My only problem is I wished there had been more of this character!
Favorite character(s): Trevor! I found myself rooting for him throughout the whole book. So likable and has many great qualities about him!
Cover: B. So artistic and creative! Very nice.
Overall: Go pick up this book if you are looking for a realistic and genuine read! I will definitely be reading more of Mary Amato!