Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn't ask to be the target of Nader McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.
But Lucky has a secret--one that helps him wade through the mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos--the prison his grandfather couldn't escape--where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It's dangerous and wild, and it's a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?
Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King's smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you--and taking a stand against it.
* "Blending magic and realism, this is a subtly written, profoundly honest novel about a kid falling through the cracks and pulling himself back up."
—Booklist, starred review
* "King remarkably channels fifteen-year-old Lucky, creating one of the most believable teen male characters in young adult fiction.... This unique coming-of-age story will hold tremendous appeal for reluctant male readers."
—VOYA, starred review
* "A smart, funny, and passionate novel that embodies that idea that 'It Gets Better'--when you take action."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "King's heartfelt tale easily blends realism and fantasy.... A haunting but at times funny tale about what it means to want to take one's life, but rising above it so that living becomes the better option."
—School Library Journal, starred review
* "The unusual and occasionally comic juxtaposition of the POW experience with Lucky's victimization... [offers] compelling food for thought about the things we can control and the things we can't, and how that distinction ultimately determines the need for action."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
* "King's themes of torture, physical and emotional imprisonment, and bullying connect in satisfying ways in this improbably witty and heartwarming story."
—The Horn Book, starred review
"A resonant, uplifting story about not just getting through, but powering through, the tough times."—Kirkus Reviews