c2008 Fiction; Grades 9+; 275 p. 2009 ALA Alex Award
Booklist Starred: Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson are best friends—no, not the dead presidents! This Tom and Andy are 14-year-old boys whose last names are Kruer and Gray, respectively. Living in the hills of Southern Indiana, these boys have been chums since infancy. Why, they’re tighter’n grandma’s girdle, but now, in the summer of 1979, their friendship is about to be tested. The Borden Casket Company, where their fathers both work, is going on strike, and Andy’s dad is management, while Tom’s is labor. Worse, Tom’s cousin gets involved in an act of vandalism that goes fatally wrong. And what’s the big secret that Andy’s Mom and the handsome local sheriff share? Tucker’s first novel is a classic coming-of-age story filled with the kind of nostalgic adolescent adventure that is the genre’s sometimes overly familiar hallmark. But the setting is gracefully realized, the real-world intrusions of the strike are nicely integrated into the plot, and both boys are as likable as Labrador pups. Who could ask for anything more?