Morris, Chad and Shelly Brown Morris. Squint. Utah: Shadow Mountain Publishing, 2018.
Flint is losing his vision due to cornea problems and he squints, a lot. Because he squints all the time, the kids all call him Squint. He usually keeps to himself, which is vital when you are in middle school and trying to keep under the radar because you are different. Flint/Squint is being raised by his grandparents because he mother doesn’t know how to be a mother. His family is also one that doesn’t have much money. Squint is writing a comic book – trying to get it done before he loses his sight. One day Gavin, a bully-type person and his followers get their hands on his comics and indicate it is inferior. For a while, he is discouraged. Then McKell, a new girl who is trying to fit in, comes to his lunchtime hiding place and begins to befriend him. McKell is fighting her own problems – her brother is dying from a rare disease. Squint reaches a point where a cornea replacement becomes a necessity. About the time McKell’s brother dies a cornea becomes available for Squint but you don’t find out until the end where the cornea comes from.
Chad Morris and Shelly Brown Morris have woven the text of Squint’s comic book into the story. I think it would have been interesting if the drawings had been also included but that probably would have made the book to long to appeal to middle schoolers.
There is much to like about this book. A middle school story – Chad Morris and Shelly Brown Morris seem to understand the struggles of being a middle schooler with difference. A survival story – recovering from grief as well as surviving with health issues are huge parts of this story. Being a good friend – Squint and McKell spur each other on to achieve and overcome fears. I think this would make a great book for a book club or for a classroom read-aloud.
The book is one I would not hesitate to place in my K-12 Christian school library. I think it is appropriate for fifth grade and up. It will appeal mostly to students in grades 5-7.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from Shadow Mountain Publishing.
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