“There’s twenty-two drink joints in Roslyn, and that’s the ones with a front door. So the mobsters from the city say to themselves, ‘Hey, let’s us get a piece o’ that,’ and they send out a chump like Simms to make deals, to get all the drink joints to start buying from his mob, and if they don’t make a deal, they get leaned on.
“That guy Simms was sent by the Mob to deal, and nobody was dealin’, so he was starting to lean,” said Perks.
What keeps me reading is the tension between Cuss’s longing to pursue an education and his responsibility to help his family survive. He finds mentors in the town’s priest and doctor, both of whom encourage him to continue his studies and who help him look for ways to care for his family in the process. I would recommend this book to fifth and sixth graders who like realistic fiction with action and conflict.