All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

Every once in awhile a book comes along that wows me. This is one of those. 

Eleven year old Perry Cook was raised in Blue River Coed Correctional Facility, a minimum security prison. His best friend, Zoe, lives on the outside, but Perry's family is comprised of its many inmates. Perry and his mother, Jessica, are looking forward to her imminent parole hearing with high hopes of starting a new life on the outside.

Then Zoe's stepfather, Thomas VanLeer, the new district attorney, decides that a terrible wrong has been done to Perry. He removes Perry from the facility and brings him home to live as a foster kid with his family. At the same time, Thomas tries to put a kibosh on Jessica's parole hearing.

Luckily, Perry has Zoe and Robyn, Zoe's mom. Robyn is on Perry's side even when it puts her in direct conflict with Thomas. It does, frequently.

Perry Cook is one of those characters that will stick with me for a long while. In fact all of these folks are memorable. They are richly drawn. The residents at the prison are seen as multifaceted individuals who have made a mistake. Even Thomas, who comes across as Perry's nemesis, is revealed as having many positive aspects. His biggest flaw is that he thinks he knows what is in everyone's best interest without consulting with those most affected. 

I wish I could say that I think students will love this book as much as I do. I think they will if their teacher reads it to them. I'm not sure it it will reach the wide audience it deserves otherwise. You can bet that I will be recommending this one to all and sundry. 

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