Perry T CookPerry T. Cook has lived his whole life, all 11 years of it, in the Blue River Correctional Facility with his mom who is a resident (prisoner). Perry isn’t a prisoner. He goes to school just like other kids. He has after-school activities (track practice with Mr. Halsey) and chores (laundry room) just like other kids. In Perry’s mind, he has a great life except he wishes his mom could meet his best friend Zoe.

Then a new district attorney, Thomas VanLeer finds out about Perry’s unusual living situation and puts a halt to it. VanLeer believes he’s righting a wrong and doesn’t understand that he’s yanking a young boy away from his supportive and loving family. So what if his family is made up of prisoners and prison staff? To make matters more complicated, VanLeer is Zoe’s new step-father. And to make matters even more complicated, VanLeer arranges to be Perry’s foster parent. The good news is that Perry finally gets to have dinner with Zoe. The bad news is that he doesn’t get to have dinner with his mom anymore.

Even though he’s miserable being away from Blue River, Perry remembers the coping lessons his mother teaches as part of her job of counseling the other residents. He looks for the wins and keeps his eye on the end. Perry wants to help her get paroled and to do that he needs to know why she’s in jail. With courage and imagination, he comes up with a plan to uncover the secrets in her manslaughter case. It’s not easy to sneak around the district attorney who also happens to be your foster father.

This is heartwarming tale of love, loyalty, and perseverance and a reminder to us all that family is anyone who loves you and home is where your family is. I recommend this to readers eight and up.  Click here to buy now!

Leslie Connor is also the author of two other middle grade books: Crunch and Waiting for Normal as well as two YAs and a picture book. She has a page on her website devoted to advice for writers which is certainly worth a view. Check it out at

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