Jumping the Scratch

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9780060541095: Jumping the Scratch

Jamie Reardon has always heard that bad things come in threes. So after his cat, Mister, dies, his father leaves, and his aunt Sapphy has an accident that causes her memory to develop a skip, Jamie hopes his life will go back to being as normal as cornflakes. But unfortunately there's one more bad thing in store for Jamie -- something he'd give anything to be able to forget -- and this one leaves him feeling like a stranger to himself. Jamie tries in vain to find the magic trigger that will help Sapphy's memory jump the scratch, like the needle on her favorite Frank Sinatra record, but in the end it's Aunt Sapphy who, along with a curious girl named Audrey Krouch, helps Jamie unravel the mysteries of memory and jump the scratch in his own life.

Sarah Weeks's poignant characters and powerful prose come together in a story that is both heart wrenching and inspiring -- another gem from the award-winning author of So B. It.

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About the Author:

Sarah Weeks is an author, singer, and songwriter. Her many books for young readers include the My First I Can Read Book Splish, Splash!, illustrated by Ashley Wolff, and the I Can Read Books Mac and Cheese, Baa-Choo!, Pip Squeak, and Drip, Drop, all illustrated by Jane Manning. She lives in upstate New York.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-7 After his father runs off with the cashier at the MicroMart, Jamie Reardon and his mother move from Battle Creek to Traverse City in northern Michigan to live with Aunt Sapphy at the Wondrous Acres trailer park. His aunt had an accident at the cherry factory and is unable to make any new memories. Jamie wants to find the magic trigger that will help her memory get unstuck, or jump the scratch, like a needle on a record. Ironically, he is trying to forget what happened on Christmas Eve involving a button pressed into his cheek, the taste of butterscotch candy, and Old Gray, the manager of the trailer park. The memory haunts his days and inhibits his making friends or doing well in school. Weeks alludes to sexual abuse, but with a broad brush and no graphic details. When Jamie tells Aunt Sapphy, just to unload his guilt and speak the words, she jumps the scratch and gets him help. Weeks perfectly captures not only the guilt, shame, and pain of the abused boy but also the tenor of a fifth-grade classroom from the point of view of a new student who is friendless, targeted, and belittled by an insensitive teacher. Touches of humor ameliorate the pain and poignancy. Another winner from the author of So Be It (HarperCollins, 2005), which also looks at the redemptive power of memory. Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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