Historical fiction, Realistic Fiction, Friendship
Karl Shoemaker is now one of my favorite characters. If I went to high school with him, I totally would have been all over that. His dad is dead, his mom's an alcoholic, pothead, hippie that steals his money, and his teachers are jerks that force him into group therapy at school year after year. Karl works five jobs, takes care of the house, is kind of psychotic, and is a recovering alcoholic himself as well as his mother's enabler.
This book covers the span of only a few days in Karl's life, but the characters are so well-done and the Karl's voice so incredibly and unbelievably real that I knew this book was sure to change my life. Even though the story takes place in the 1970s, the story does not feel dated, and truly celebrates the way physically and emotionally abused kids and teenagers can lean on one another to overcome anything, and also how adults in their lives can do the simplest things to help them in the biggest ways.
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron
Crazy by Han Nolan
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley