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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Dirt Road Home (Alabama Moon) Hardcover – July 20, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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$15.33 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–A companion to the award-winning Alabama Moon (Farrar, 2006), this novel stands on its own. The book opens with lots of action, as 14-year-old Hal is led in chains to the Hellenweiler Boys' Home, a lockdown facility in Tuscaloosa where he is to serve out his sentence. He and his father have an agreement: Daddy is going to stop drinking and Hal is going to keep a clean slate while incarcerated. However, the teen soon discovers that this is almost impossible; he is immediately pressured to “claim” for one of two gangs, with both choices guaranteed to bring him trouble. Hal chooses the unthinkable–to join neither. The tension, positioning, threats, and shifting alliances among the boys are believable and will hook readers. The teen's focus on his relationship with his father, as well as a new girlfriend, add moments of hope. The corruption of the supervising adults is also credible, and Hal's idea to reveal it creates a page-turning experience. Unfortunately, the staff's downfall is a little too easily accomplished and rings false, especially after all the gritty realism that comes before it. A happy ending with Daddy, Hal, and Caboose (another loner from the facility) neatly wraps up the story, putting this book squarely in the camp for younger readers with a tougher edge.–Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, Oakland, CAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Key's second novel follows Hal Mitchell, reform-school buddy of the hero of Alabama Moon (2006). Hal is in the Hellenweiler Boys' Home, where the state sends the hard cases to live until they turn 18. If he can stay out of trouble, and his dad can stop drinking, the two can be reunited, but it's immediately clear that Hal's end of the bargain is going to be tough to keep. The kids in Hellenweiler are evenly divided between two gridlocked gangs that altercate violently and often. Neither side is willing to let Hal keep his nose clean, which only distracts him from seeing the true villains in the mix. It's a standard setup for a lockup tale, and Hal's efforts to contain his rage and navigate brawls keep the atmosphere tense and pacing fleet. Most interesting is the unusual triangle he forms with a silent, massive loner and a philosophical Mexican gang leader. The ending is a little too neat for credibility, but for comeuppance it doesn't get much more satisfying. Grades 7-10. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 540L (What's this?)
  • Series: Alabama Moon (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1 edition (July 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374308632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374308636
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,692,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whenever my 10 year old son gets really excited about reading a book, he makes me read it also. His class started reading the first book, Alabama Moon a couple of months ago. He begged me to buy him Alabama Moon before they even finished and once he got it he finished it before the class did. When he finished it, all he talked about was the next book. He was soooo excited to receive it for Christmas. He hasn't read it yet because he was already reading another book called A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray by Ann Martin, but I have read it. Even though this book is geared towards a younger audience, I really enjoyed Hal's story. I'm hoping another book will follow with Hal and Moon back together again in another adventure. Will update after my son reads it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a most worthy followup by Watt Key to his outstanding "Alabama Moon."

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a detention teacher and try to pre-read any books I allow my students to read. This one is a keeper. It is one that they will identify with and possibly learn a lesson from. I highly recommend that teenagers read this book about making decisions, thinking out the conseqeuences before committing crimes and using self control in their lives. It really grabs your attention.Can't wait for him to write another one.
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Format: Hardcover
Hal Mitchell finds himself back in a boys' home after having escaped the Pinson Home with two other boys. They headed for the woods and almost eluded the authorities in ALABAMA MOON. Now, Hal's lawyer tells him he'll only have to stay at Hellenweiler Boys' Home until a few things get straightened out - and until his dad proves he has given up alcohol and is capable of providing a decent home for Hal.

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"
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Format: Hardcover
When my students finished Alabama Moon, Watt Key's popular first novel, they all said they hoped Key would write another book so they could find out what happend with Hal. Well he did. As Moon was headed off to a regular life with long-lost relatives, Hal, the buddy he escaped from the "home" for boys with, is looking at the possibility of spending time in a tougher boys' home that turns out to be more like a real prison.

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.
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