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One of the parts of this story I enjoyed the most had to do with how Benny’s community was described. As someone who also spent some of her childhood in a low-income neighborhood, I thought the author captured daily life for these kids accurately. Benny’s completely understandable concerns about having enough food and other resources were mixed in with the kinds of lighthearted joking around that all kids do at that age.
The sudden ending was disappointing. I was so interested in finding out what would happen to Benny and the people he cared about that I was hoping for there to be a stronger sense of closure for everyone by the time the final scene came around. There was more than one conflict that was never wrapped up even though this isn’t part of a serial to the best of my knowledge.
Benny’s relationship with his grandmother tickled my imagination. He clearly loved her quite a bit even though she didn’t always seem to know what to do with a child his age. The plot didn’t spent a lot of time exploring the reasons why she was the one raising him instead of his parents, but I was intrigued by the handful of comments that were made about that situation. They added a sense of mystery to his backstory.
I would have liked to see more time spent on the character development. The physical appearances of all of the characters were described in perfect detail, but their personalities weren’t given the same opportunity to shine. I finished the last scene without a clear understanding of why they behaved the way they did. It sure would have been helpful to know them on the inside as well as I came to recognize them from the way they looked.
The foreshadowing was handled nicely. I always appreciate it when a narrator hints at what is going to happen next without making it too obvious. Mr. de la Plana did a very good job at catering his hints to the age group he was writing for. They weren’t too easy to figure out, but they also weren’t too hard for preteen readers either.
Guys Read: Believing in Brooklyn should be read by anyone who has ever wished for something that was highly unlikely to come true.