Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall
“What’s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something?”
“This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.”
“Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.”
I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you’ve got.”
Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he’s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else—least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he’s ready to take it on himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick—and a friend—is such a bad thing after all. (Sterling)
As if being a teenager isn’t difficult enough, Micah is coping with a disability that slowly diminishes his capability to do things others take for granted. He tries to be as normal as he possibly can: refusing to have a guide dog believing it will limit his freedom, trying to do without his white cane as often as possible, and hiding his flare-ups in the vain hope that his disability will go away on its own. The only place where Micah really feels in control is on the court when he plays goalball: a game designed for the visually impaired.
Young readers will relate to young Micah’s struggles: not necessarily his disability, but his anger issues, making friends, learning to be part of a team, that special relationship, and trying to become more independent of his parents. The language and tone of the book definitely feels like a young teen is speaking to the reader. It’s wonderful to have a book that is based locally and illustrates the pressures young people face as they juggle parental expectations, personal goals, expectations, relationships and in this case a degenerative disability.
-Reviewed by Marianne Huang