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Dirt Road Home (Alabama Moon) Hardcover – July 20, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Top Customer Reviews
The man can write, he can describe a scene and he can get into a young person's heart and soul as few writers can.
This story, like "Alabama Moon," is about a young man fighting against long and strong odds, this time in a Juvenile Center (aka. Prison). Finding and staying in the middle ground and doing the right thing can a tough, though thing at any age and especially in the teen years in this setting.
Young Hal is a noble hero of sort.
Tension starts quickly at the beginning and builds throughout the book.
As with "Alabama Moon," Key delves into the heart and mind of an oft-neglected part of our society, giving it voice and hope.
Obstensibly Mr. Key writes for young adults, but this man writes for the human heart of all ages, and he does it well. Very well.
It turns out that Hellenweiler is much worse than Pinson. There are two gangs, the Hounds and the Ministers. Leaders from both groups insist that Hal needs to pledge allegiance to one or the other, but he is determined to remain neutral. His only goal is to stay clean, serve his time, and get out as soon as his lawyer gets everything straightened out for his release.
As the days pass, Hal discovers that it's not just the inmates that can make trouble for him. Those in charge of the boys' home are out to make life miserable for him, as well. He learns about faked paperwork, guards who look the other way when gang leaders want to use physical violence, and he personally experiences the pain of solitary confinement. It quickly becomes obvious that Hal will have to use cleverness and trickery to uncover the illegal activities going on behind closed doors.
Author Watt Key follows up his survival adventure, ALABAMA MOON, with this story about Hal Mitchell's determined efforts to return to life with his father. Key takes readers into the mind of a young man desperate to maintain control of his temper and emotions so he can satisfy the legal requirements that will allow him to rebuild his life.
Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
Hal finds himself in this boys' prison in Key's second book and it is run by mean and corrupt adults who allow a viscious gang environment to thrive. Hal, who usually has no difficulty taking on trouble, will only get out if he stays out of trouble. Since that is virtually impossible, his only hope is to rely on friendship and to find a way to outwit those who want to keep him down.
Like <em>Alabama Moon</em>, this book is a compelling read driven by the reader's empathy for a strong main character, constant action, and by lines clearly drawn between the light and the dark. While Alabama felt like an entirely new hero to literature, Hal is a more familiar one--a smart, brave kid with a good heart and a childhood that worked against him but that he is driven to get beyond. Key's books are about boys and are written for boys in middle school or higher. Yet I enjoy them (I'm well past my school years and female) and look forward to the next one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like a book that grips my attention to the last word, a book that brings the characters so alive that the memory of them lingers in my mind for a long time. Read morePublished 10 months ago by anita rosenthal
Very realistic and true . . .
I felt that the author did a good job of.continuing from the first book
This was a really good book. It really summed up Hal's life after Alabama Moon. If you've read Alabama Moon you will like this book.Published 21 months ago by Denise W. Steele
Few followup books can be compared with this sequel. Very realistic, very touching. If you have read Alabama Moon, you will want to get this! Read morePublished on May 26, 2014 by C Wilson