2020 James J. Horgan Book Award Winner
Eleven-year-old Henry’s life in Jacksonville, Florida is suddenly changed when his step mother convinces his father to send him and his sister Ruth to a boarding school in neighboring St. John’s County. The siblings quickly learn that their circumstances, and their new home, are not at all what they imagined. Henry struggles to stay out of trouble and avoid the wicked headmistress, Miss Gertrude, and her heavy-handed punishments. Henry learns a lot about himself, and how to survive in difficult situations.
Author J. A. Kennedy weaves actual events from her family history, with the drama and tragedy of a young life (her maternal grandfather) being uprooted and forced into oppressive conditions within the backdrop of an early-20th century Florida landscape. It’s a coming-of-age story that will have the reader asking, “what would I have done in his shoes?”