HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12Fourmile by Watt Key | Review

Fourmile by Watt Key | Review

By Elizabeth VaradanThe Children’s Book Review
Published: October 21, 2013


By Watt Key

Age Range: 9 – 12 years

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (September 18, 2012)

ISBN-13: 978-0374350956

What to Expect: Family conflict, hero worship, loss of a parent, dangerous characters

Twelve-year-old Foster doesn’t trust the man his widowed mother has started dating. Even Joe, the dog, doesn’t like Dax. Dax has a violent, controlling streak, but Linda, vulnerable in her loss, doesn’t seem to see it. She is too worried about how to maintain Fourmile, the family farm, now that her husband is gone, and loneliness has made her dependent on Dax.

Foster hasn’t resolved his own grief about his father’s death. All his anger is locked in. He gets in fights at schools. Then one day, while Foster is painting the fence, a stranger appears in the road. Gary. He says he’s walking to Texas. He has a dog of his own, Kabo. Joe likes Gary, something not lost on Foster. When Gary comes to the house to get water from the hose for his canteen, things change.

Gary stays in the barn and starts doing odd jobs for the farm in exchange for meals. He’s wise. He’s kind and considerate. All the things Dax isn’t. Foster develops a case of hero worship. Linda warms to Gary. Dax knows a threat when he sees one. But Gary has secrets of his own, and things soon build to a frightening climax.

“We heard the trucks approaching just after noon. As usual, Gary stopped what he was doing and grew tense and alert. He watched them through the shimmering vapor of the blacktop until they were close enough for me to recognize Dax’s truck. I felt my stomach turn.”

I could not put this book down, once I started it. Foster’s “voice” felt authentic, both in age and in locale. All the characters rang true. The story felt all too possible. And the storytelling made this a page-turner from the very first paragraph.

This book will appeal to readers of ages 9-12 who relate to family problems, loss, conflicts with or worries about parental choices, and coming of age issues

Add this book to your collection: Fourmile

For more information, visit: wattkey.com

Fourmile was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan.


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Elizabeth Varadan writes for children and adults. Her middle-grade mystery, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls (published June 15, 2015), is set in Victorian London and she is currently working on Book Two. Varadan loves to read and write about the Victorian Era and blogs about the many things she uncovers in her research. Visit: <a href="http://elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com">elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com</a> and <a href="http://victorianscribbles.blogspot.com">victorianscribbles.blogspot.com</a>

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