First day, new school, no way out. It sucks being with Grandpa in this new town. It sucks that they left the old place without finding Rosco. Travis doesn't want to do anything, especially try to get by in his classes, which never seems possible, anyway. He's a Bluefish - stupid, angry, alone.
Then, suddenly, there's a girl. Velveeta. She's up in his face and she's not backing down. She is as loud as he is quiet, as outgoing as he is shut in. She's pretty, in a funky, scarf-wearing sort of way, and she's smart - way smart - smart enough to figure out that Travis has a secret. And she should know. She has a few of her own. She's not sure what's up with him, but she's determined to find out. So is McQueen, the teacher who just might be the one to unleash something in Travis that has been held back for a very long time.
With a cast of utterly believable characters, Pat Schmatz has crafted a story rich in moments of trust and connection, told with humor, heartbreak, and fearless honesty. - Jacket description
1. Travis. Travis is a private and reserved person. I loved that his story is told in 3rd person, because the more reserved narration fit his character so well. There is just a little bit of distance when "he" is used instead of "I," and that distance helped develop Travis's character. Travis has secrets and hurts and fears that he doesn't let anyone know. Sometimes 3rd person can make it harder to connect with a character, but in this case it's really the opposite.
2. Velveeta. Interspersed throughout Travis's story are notes from Velveeta. Velveeta is a loud and outgoing person, so this 1st person narration fit her character just as Travis's 3rd person fit him. These notes also add so much to the story. We slowly discover a side of Velveeta she keeps hidden, and her character really becomes multi dimensional.
3. The emotion. There are funny parts, there are sad parts, and there are touching parts that pull it all together. It's so easy to root for these characters, and feel like you know them, and want them to end up all right. The end is left kind of open - there are threads and things that have not been tied up and resolved, and I loved that. Life goes on for Travis and Velveeta and everyone else past the last page, and that's really how it should be.
I really loved this book. I had never heard of it before I discovered it in the library, and now that I've read it, I don't know why it's not being talked about more. It really was an amazing story. I highly recommend it. Give it a try - I hope you'll like it as much as I did.