The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine

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Synopsis

From the author of Mockingbird, a National Book Award winner!

Mike tries so hard to please his father, but the only language his dad seems to speak is calculus. And for a boy with a math learning disability, nothing could be more difficult. When his dad sends him to live with distant relatives in rural Pennsylvania for the summer to work on an engineering project, Mike figures this is his big chance to prove himself. But when he gets there, nothing is what he thought it would be. Instead of an engineering assignment, he finds himself part of a town-wide project to adopt a boy from Romania while working alongside his wacky eighty-something-year-old aunt, a homeless man, and a punk-rock girl. Mike might not learn anything about engineering, but what he does learn is far more valuable.
 

About Kathryn Erskine

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Kathryn Erskine (www.kathyerskine.com) lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
 
Published June 9, 2011 by Puffin. 256 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Absolute Value of Mike

Kirkus Reviews

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Like many of the folks the boy comes to know in Do Over, Penn.—his great-uncle Poppy silent in his chair, the multiply pierced-and-tattooed Gladys from the bank and “a homeless guy” who calls himself Past—Mike feels like a failure.

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Absolute Value of Mike

The New York Times

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That false story, however, ignites the real action in the novel, when Mike is sent to live in rural Pennsylvania for six weeks with a great-uncle who is paralyzed by grief and a great-aunt who defines herself as “a collector of lost souls.” Mike is to participate in an engineering project —the bu...

Jun 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Absolute Value of Mike

Publishers Weekly

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Mike's father, a math professor, must teach in Romania for six weeks, so he ships his motherless 14-year-old to live with distant relatives and work on an engineering project to improve Mike's chances of getting into a math magnet school.

Apr 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Absolute Value of Mike

Examiner

Mike is, in his own words, a fourteen-year-old “math moron.” Given that his father is a distracted math genius who teaches at the University (think Harvard) this is a pretty serious basis for disappointment and disaster.

Aug 20 2011 | Read Full Review of The Absolute Value of Mike

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