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Dough Boy

by Peter  Marino

Published by Holiday House, 2005
221 pages
ISBN: 0823418731

Ages 12-15

As divorces go, fifteen-year-old Tristan’s parents have a good one. Tristan is happy living with his mom and her boyfriend, Frank. Like Tristan, Frank is overweight. And like Tristan, he doesn’t dwell on it. Tristan also has a good relationship with his dad and his dad’s girlfriend, whom he stays with on weekends. Then Frank’s teenage daughter Kelly moves in, and everything starts to spiral downward. Kelly—thin and beautiful and controlling—sets out to “improve” Tristan’s appearance at the same time she uses him to cover for her when she wants to see her boyfriend, Marco, against her father’s wishes. There is tremendous tension in the house between Kelly and Frank, and Kelly and Tristan’s mom. And Marco, who used to be Tristan’s best friend, now ignores him to spend time with Kelly. Tristan, once pretty satisfied with himself and his life, grows increasingly more unhappy. That in turn causes friction between his parents. Peter Marino’s debut novel features a teen caught in the midst of a misery not of his own making. Determined to find a way out before he falls completely apart, Tristan finally decides to move in with his father, even though he knows it will hurt his mother and Frank. With a little distance, Tristan begins to see that while everyone has been hurting, he, at least, can begin to heal. Marino has created a cast of real, multidimensional characters, people who are good at heart but whose various shortcomings also make for realistically complex—and complicated—relationships and situations.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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