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Pool Boy (Single Titles) Hardcover – April 9, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Series: Single Titles
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1st edition (April 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761318852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761318859
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,991,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-Brett, 15, had it all: good looks, a winning personality, and a lot of money. That is, until the police busted his dad for money laundering and insider trading. Now the teen's posh lifestyle-like his dad-has gone to the dogs, and Brett, his mom, and sister move into their great-aunt's humble two-story on the other side of the tracks. Forced to help out in making ends meet, the teen takes a job cleaning pools in his old upscale neighborhood. With surprisingly sharp insight for a first novel, Simmons doesn't bat an eyelash in forcing his arrogantly smug antihero to combat a truckload of issues involving his new life in a lower-income bracket. Dubbed "pool boy" by the new owners of the house that his own family lost, Brett stubbornly comes to terms with forgiving his father for being a criminal and losing the family fortune. What results from Simmons's dead-on characterization in this well-told first-person account is a humorous yet thought-provoking journey through the life and mind of a self-centered young man who must now reconsider his own sense of responsibility to rebuild the life torn apart by his father's crimes.
Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. It's the elemental YA novel: the furious teen betrayed by adults has to make his own way. But this story is taken from today's business headlines. Brett's stockbroker dad is in jail for insider training, and the family is suddenly broke and disgraced. Unlike most stories about parents in prison, this first novel focuses on a spoiled brat, sorry that he won't be getting a car for his upcoming sixteenth birthday; bitter because, instead of sunning himself by the family pool, he has to spend the summer cleaning the pools of his former neighbors. He knows he is a brat and he glories in it. He is ugly to his dad when he is forced to visit him in prison, and he hurts his too-perfect mom. Of course, he learns his lesson, suffers real loss, and comes to know about backbreaking work and about forgiveness. What's best here is the teen's authentic, contemporary first-person voice, obnoxious in its self-absorption, funny in its self-mockery, and also vulnerable when real sadness blows the boy's cover. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

There are no negatives that I can give as to why I disliked this book.
B. Vogelsinger
Brett and his mother and his sister go to live with his eccentric aunt on the bad side of town and they start to learn how it is not to be rich.
A. Luciano
The author does a great job of getting us into Brett's mind and the reader is allowed to watch him grow as a person and become a likeable guy.
Judith Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Johannes on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After living the good life for almost his entire life, Brett is getting a taste of how the other half lives. His stockbroker father has just been arrested, convicted, and sentenced for three and a half years for insider trading, and Brett and his mom and sister have to move on the other side of the tracks (literally) and live with their crazy aunt.
Brett is finding it difficult to adjust to having no money while all his friends continue to attend tennis lessons and get new cars for their birthdays. But, worst of all, Brett seriously hates his father for what he has put them through, and has decided that he will not forgive.
Because it's summer and because he needs the money, Brett starts working with seventy-two year old pool cleaner Alfie, a somewhat eccentric but wise old man who seems to be the only one that Brett can talk to. Arrogant, pompous, and insensitive, Brett turns his family's ordeal into an even worst experience by constantly antagonizing his father during their bi-monthly prison visits. When tragedy strikes, Brett has the opportunity to see the real value of his relationships with his family and friends.
Brett is hardly a likeable kid, but somehow the author pulls off the magic trick of making Brett seem reasonable in his anger toward his father. The dialogue is an excellent example of narrative style, since the reader can picture Brett and only Brett speaking those lines. The teen love depiction is dead-on, especially as it comes from the voice of a spoiled teenage boy who has not learned to appreciate anything he has been given in life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Judith Miller VINE VOICE on June 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this refreshing and original novel, Michael Simmons takes us into the world of a boy on the verge of his sixteenth birthday, and who had been living a very privileged existence. Brett Gerson had it all, good looks, personality, spending money, expensive stereo equipment and a luxurious home with a pool. The beautiful life ended when Brett's father was convicted of insider trading and was sent to jail.
Brett, his mother and sister all had to make a drastic change to their life styles. The house had to be sold, and the family moved in with their mother's eccentric aunt, who lived in a very modest home, but on the wrong side of town. To make matters even worse, Aunt Mary wore only floral muumuus and bedroom slippers. Her dress style, affectionate nature and "homespun wisdom" seemed strange to Brett and he was somewhat embarrassed by her.
He especially hated the visits that his mother insisted that they make to see his father in prison. Mr. Gerson who seemed penitent and somewhat broken in spirit was hopeful that his son would forgive him; however, Brett was so filled with bitterness that the only comments that he made to his dad were sarcastic and hateful.
He blamed his father for everything including the fact that he now had to work after school and on summer vacation which was something that was unheard of in the world where he used to live. After quitting his first job making burgers, he's takes a job working for Alfie Moore the elderly man who used to clean the pool at his former house. Britt thinks the job might be a lark and approaches the work in his old self-centered way, but both Alfie and the pool cleaning business are more than he ever imagined. Brett eventually learns the value and pride that comes with hard work and how it feels to be a nameless "Pool Boy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Vogelsinger on May 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Brett Gerson, an irresponsible rich kid from California, has just lost everything. The house, the pool, the cars, and his five thousand dollar stereo. All this happened because his rich stockbroker dad has just gotten busted by the cops. Ten cops showed up at their door one day and arrested his father after tackling him to the kitchen floor. The next thing Brett knows, he is working at a burger joint and living at his aunt's house with his mom, sister, and aunt. After Brett gets a job offer cleaning pools from his old bus driver, Alfie, Brett quits his lame job at the burger joint. Brett is in for a big surprise because his relationship with Alfie becomes more than something Brett could have imagined. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was compelling to see how Brett changes throughout the book. At first, Brett had a really bad attitude towards his mother and did not care how she felt. As Brett moves on with his job as a pool cleaner with Alfie, he starts to realize that his mother has not done him any wrong. After a fatal disaster occurs, Brett's attitude changes toward his mother and he transforms into a responsible young man. There are no negatives that I can give as to why I disliked this book. I give this book 9.5 on a scale of 10. The title relates to the book because although Brett starts out as just an ordinary "pool boy." By the end of the book, Brett has become something much greater than just a "pool boy."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Lynn on December 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I loved loved loved Pool Boy's snarky main character, Brett -- he's sharp and he's snide and despite his spoiled-brattiness I found him impossible to hate. That's probably because he's got a soft side (though he'd never admit it!), like when he calls his sister "the most kind and decent person there is." And also because we've all had selfish thoughts, it's just that HE's bold enough to share them. Shameless? Maybe. Hilarious to read? YES. Brett's journey from super-rich kid to burger flipper to pool cleaner to sensitive hero is very funny, and also truly touched me in the end (THAT was a surprise). All of Simmon's characters -- from the wise, 70-year-old pool cleaner to Brett's richie-rich friends -- completely come to life in Pool Boy's pages. I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't love this book.
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