I won this book through the Goodreads Giveaway section and when I saw the cover, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it, so I set it aside for a month. Boy was I wrong. This is a beautifully written story about a group of boys growing up in Queens around the 70’s. Sam Tolpin and his Mom move around to the school districts she feels are the best for education. When Sam is 12-years-old, they move into the second story apartment of a house where a group of boys help them move in. A group that appear to be the neighborhood troublemakers. Sam was a loner and a skinny little kid. Downstairs is Eddie Drucker who is a strong kid that doesn’t think twice about committing petty crime. Sam is bullied by Eddie’s friends and when he accidentally head butts the school bully on the school bus taking him down, Sam’s accepted into the group. Soon Eddie becomes family to Sam and his Mom to the point that he is a brother from another mother. Sam is soon along for the ride for all the crimes.
Everyone loves Eddie in the neighborhood and at the school. Eddie loves Sam’s Mom and gives her the utmost respect. The entire group have total respect for “Mrs. T” as they call her and will go to bat for her whether it’s raising money when she loses her job so they don’t have to move to standing up to a rude customer at her second job waitressing in a diner. This book made me smile, made me want to smack Eddie and the boys on the back of the head and made me cry. This book is about coming of age, friendship, loyalty and being a better person. I’m so glad I was able to read this book. It is one that will stay with me for a while.