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Thirteen-year-old Travis has a secret: he can't read. But a shrewd teacher and a sassy girl are about to change everything in this witty and deeply moving novel.
Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he's missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there's just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he's called on to read out loud. But that's before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn't take "pass" for an answer--a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it's before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable characters--and captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.
you.” “Travis likes me because he’s captured by my feminine wiles. He can’t take his eyes off me, can you, Travis? I think we should talk about this every day. Why does everyone like Velveeta? You can make a list of reasons. It’ll be a fan club.” “Okay.” Bradley got up as the bell rang. “I’ll be president. Or no, I’ll be secretary. I’ll make the list.” Travis followed them out of the lunchroom. Bradley could make his own list, and he should sit somewhere else to do it. Velveeta came up beside
sat down and tapped the ash of his cigarette. Then he squinted at Travis through a curl of smoke. “Everything okay? Teachers and all?” he asked. Travis shrugged, looking away. Grandpa dragged off the cigarette again, then turned his head sideways to blow out the smoke. “Can you give it a chance? I miss the woods and the dog, too. But we’re both going to have to buck up and make the best of what we’ve got.” The dull ache chewed on in Travis’s chest. Everything he’d ever cared about was gone.
kidnap me and hold me for ransom?” “No, but I have some words I need help with, and I thought we could do some of that.” “You’re trying to help me by letting me help you. Don’t think you’re being tricky.” “I’m not being tricky. I just want to make sure you’ll come.” Travis followed Velveeta to her locker. “But you have to promise not to yell at me to try. If you do that, I’ll leave.” “Let me get this right. You want me to go to some secret place with you, for some completely unexplained
reproduced, transmitted, or stored in an information retrieval system in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, taping, and recording, without prior written permission from the publisher. First electronic edition 2011 The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows: Schmatz, Pat. Bluefish / Pat Schmatz. — 1st ed. p. cm. Summary: Everything changes for thirteen-year-old Travis, a new student who is trying to hide his
in reading. “When I call your name, bring your book into my office and we’ll discuss.” He called Heather first. Travis glanced over at Velveeta. She was staring at the cover of a book and playing with the end of her scarf. This one was an October-maple blast of red, orange, and yellow. Travis traced his finger around the black paw of the fox on the cover of his book. They made such small, neat tracks, those fox paws. One day last winter, he’d followed fox tracks in a new snow and spent all