The Season of Styx Malone

Ten-year-old Caleb Franklin and big brother Bobby Gene's hometown of Sutton, Ind., is extremely "ordinary." Things take a turn for the extraordinary, however, at the Fourth of July picnic, where Caleb and Bobby Gene trade their baby sister, Susie, to Cory Cormier for a sack of fireworks. Susie is returned but the boys retain (secret) ownership of the fireworks.

Enter Styx Malone, a 16-year-old who has his own business cards and slides "through the world like the air around him [is] greased." Styx introduces the younger boys to the Great Escalator Trade, in which items are exchanged for things of greater value until the final trade is worth significantly more than the first. Caleb and Bobby Gene are charmed into using their fireworks to do business with this mysterious older boy, unaware that Styx might have ulterior motives.

Reminiscent of now-classic works by Katherine Paterson, Natalie Babbitt and Lois Lowry, The Season of Styx Malone carries on a tradition of works for young readers that focus on weighty topics while emphasizing the warmth and joy life has to offer. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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