And Then, Boom! (Hardcover)

And Then, Boom! By Lisa Fipps Cover Image

And Then, Boom! (Hardcover)


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A gripping new novel in verse by the author of the Printz Honor-winning Starfish, featuring a poverty-stricken boy who bravely rides out all the storms life keeps throwing at him

Joe Oak is used to living on unsteady ground. His mom can’t be depended on as she never stays around long once she gets “the itch,” and now he and his beloved grandmother find themselves without a home. Fortunately, Joe has an outlet in his journals and drawings and takes comfort from the lessons of comic books—superheroes have a lot of “and then, boom” moments, where everything threatens to go bust but somehow they land on their feet. And that seems to happen a lot to Joe too, as in this crisis his friend Nick helps them find a home in his trailer park. But things fall apart again when Joe is suddenly left to fend for himself. He doesn’t tell anyone he’s on his own, as he fears foster care and has hope his mom will come back. But time is running out—bills are piling up, the electricity’s been shut off, and the school year’s about to end, meaning no more free meals. The struggle to feed himself gets intense, and Joe finds himself dumpster diving for meals. He’s never felt so alone—until an emaciated little dog and her two tiny pups cross his path. And fate has even more in store for Joe, because an actual tornado is about to hit home—and just when it seems all is lost, his life turns in a direction that he never could have predicted.
Lisa Fipps is also the author of Starfish, a Printz Honor winner. She is a graduate of Ball State University, an award-winning former journalist, and a former director of marketing for a public library (where she won the Sara Laughlin marketing award). She lives in Kokomo, Indiana.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593406328
ISBN-10: 059340632X
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English
“How do you cope with the unexpected moments that change everything in your world? . . . The verse format, combined with Joe’s comic book and superhero metaphors, works exceptionally well at conveying honest emotion while maintaining a sense of humor and hope. Fipps doesn’t sugarcoat poverty, nor does she romanticize it or treat it as a moral failing; instead, she provides critical representation to the many schoolchildren who are living in poverty. Joe’s courage and individuality shine on every page. . . . A big, bold, engaging, and important story.” —Kirkus Reviews

* "Fipps (Starfish) depicts situations of abuse, financial precarity, houselessness, and hope through easy-to-read verse in this elucidating work. Eleven-year-old Joseph Oak loves superhero comics and his British-born Grandmum, whose ‘arms are like Captain America’s shield,/ protecting me,/ defending me.’ . . . Joe’s pragmatic voice explains, ‘I think I know a lot of things/ kids shouldn’t/ have/ to know’ about how much his grandmother makes cleaning buildings and what their U.S. government–provided benefits cover (and don’t). . . . Fipps employs resonant verse to portray Joe’s bleak reality as well as the bright spots he experiences due to the kindness of his best friends, who help him get food, and his teacher, who advocates for change in the school’s free meal system and opens a food and clothing pantry for students in need.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“As in her Starfish (2021), Fipps focuses on another young person on the fringe of their peer group, and the novel-in-verse narrative works beautifully here, invoking urgency and intimacy. Vivid descriptions of housing and food scarcity are intense and unforgettable, sure to spark empathy from any young reader. Though the story tackles heavy subjects, Joe is a wonderful companion, and there are also deep, dear relationships and an undercurrent of kindness that keeps hope afloat throughout. An exceptionally compassionate examination of existence on the edge.” —Booklist, starred review

“This verse novel’s conversational tone, linear timeline, and dialogue-heavy writing will ease readers nervous about poetry, and the first-person narration shows Joseph’s intelligence and joyful creativity. What Joseph goes through is horrible, but not completely without hope. Joseph is surrounded by a wonderful secondary cast, from his teacher who attempts to support kids living in poverty by changing unfair school systems to a neighbor who models generosity and healthy community building. . . . Fipps’ indictment of how society treats and ignores people who need help (‘It’s amazing / how long you can live / without anyone realizing / how you live’) paves the way for compassionate discussion about how cyclical poverty affects kids.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Supporting characters, including Joe’s teacher, his friends Nick and Hakeem, and the mobile home park’s compassionate owner, are well drawn and vividly portrayed. As in Starfish, Fipps uses short lines, lots of white space, and an engaging first-person voice to carry the story. A fine example of how a novel in verse can be the perfect vehicle for getting inside the head of a character and creating empathy for what it’s like to be him.”The Horn Book