'Homesick' by Kate Klise
Twelve-year-old Benny feels at times sympathetic, confused, exasperated and embarrassed when his father's explosive hoarding problem strains his parents' marriage and threatens to consume his father's grasp on reality. The pressure to “clean house” mounts as the entire provincial Missouri town jestingly is nominated for the “America’s Most Charming Town” contest and Chamber of Commerce representatives plan to visit the community. Benny wants to be a regular American small town kid, yet he is torn between his responsibilities to one mentally unstable parent and his longing to be cared for by the other physically unavailable one.
With an assortment of witty, quirky, townsfolk, a classmate crush, and the occurrence of some extraordinary events and coincidences, Homesick is worth the read. It acknowledges the impermanence of material things that mask problems and how one can find the love and courage to confront the complex and unpleasant realities of life, especially with a little help from one’s well-meaning friends.