Over and Under by Todd Tucker
Paradise is being a fourteen-year-old boy and having a true friend to share complete freedom with–the forest is unspoiled and filled with wildlife and unexlored caves; the town is small and suitable for unsupervised explorations, and the bedroom windows are easy to climb out of at night. Though the summer of 1979 has more fodder for adventure than usual–a divisive labor strike, a deadly bombing, and a murderous drunk–it all serves as backdrop for the real story: the value and the power of a solid childhood friendship.
This authentic-feeling story is not represented as young adult fiction though it is written entirely from the perspective of one of the fourteen-year-old boys, essentially because it is about nostalgia–ah, the irretrievable days of youthful freedom! However, middle school boys and younger high school boys who like the outdoors and the freedom to roam and explore will enjoy this book. The adventure and excitement never ebb, and all the characters are richly drawn. The description of one of the boys in a drain pipe with a copper head snake by itself makes the book worth reading. It’s a great book for parents who like to read and enjoy the books their kids also read.