Breaker Boy

272p. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry. Oct. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481465373.
Gr 3–5—Corey is just about to turn 12, the age when boys in his town leave school to work in the mines, when he falls through a frozen pond and nearly dies. Luckily, the town's local hellhound and his witch-doctor owner save Corey and they begin a friendship. Although he is still paralyzed with fear and unable to venture into the claustrophobic mines, Corey becomes a breaker boy who sorts rock from coal instead. While moments of drama and excitement pepper the novel, the story moves at a fairly measured pace, often developing Corey's character at the expense of minor ones who could be more fully fleshed out. The details of historic 1900s Pennsylvania and the conditions of the miners and their families will interest history buffs, and the end of the novel includes a harrowing rescue from a mine collapse. While the story ends on an exciting note, there are threads that do not get fully realized as Harlow tries to tackle friendship, prejudice, history, and sports all at once.
VERDICT This novel's leisurely pace and abundant plot lines may make it a tough sell to more reluctant readers. Recommended as an additional purchase where historical fiction or Harlow's other titles are popular.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing