TITLE: The Keeper
GENRE: Middle Grade
The last day of school arrived on what should've been the perfect summer day. The sun rose in a spectacle of hot pink and day-glow orange and floated in a pale blue sky with wispy, ribbon-candy clouds. The mountain air of Vermont was warm and fragrant and peaceful.
Well, not today. Nope. Not even close. Not for Jack Wilkes. Walking home alone, like always, figuring he'd flunked the pop quiz his sixth grade teacher had unleashed during last period, Jack scuffed up pebbles along the sidewalk. His mood mimicked the changing afternoon sky . . . gray, sullen, and waiting for something unpleasant to arrive. He'd been dreaming of this summer for a long time. Now he was dreading it.
He remembered what his classmates had said when he told them about his dilemma -- at least the part he could tell them about -- Calvin, the Fresh Air Kid.
“Wow! That sucks! Sharing your room with a complete stranger . . . all summer?” Tyler had said. “Sticking a kid like that in the country for the summer is like throwing a river trout into Archer's Pond!” Tyler had flashed the girls in front a devilish grin and a wink. They'd blushed and giggled and had stared at them both all through class. Jack remembered it well because he'd been so uncomfortable having giggling girls suddenly staring at him. He'd never been the center of attention, and liked it that way.