Twelve-year-old Lowen Grover, a budding comic-book artist, is still reeling from the shooting death of his friend Abe when he stumbles across an article about a former mill town giving away homes for just one dollar. It not only seems like the perfect escape from Flintlock and all of the awful memories associated with the city, but an opportunity for his mum to run her very own business.
Fortunately, his family is willing to give it a try. But is the Dollar Program too good to be true? The homes are in horrible shape, and the locals are less than welcoming. Will Millville and the dollar house be the answer to the Grovers’ troubles? Or will they find they’ve traded one set of problems for another? From the author of Small as an Elephant and Paper Things comes a heart-tugging novel about guilt and grief, family and friendship, and, above all, community. -Goodreads
Long read but definitely worth it. There were a lot of messages/themes within this book. However, the biggest one that bothered me the most or should I say affected me the most was how the adults treated the new families, specifically the children.
The whole purpose of those families moving into these crap houses, is to fix them up and bring business into a dying a community. But the town, which voted for each family, are fairly rude and disrespectful to new comers. This occurs throughout the entire book and it really bothers me. New comers to a town, school, work anything is very hard to deal with it. It is even worst when people generally don’t want you there. I felt so bad, mostly for the kids, who were being call the dollar kids by the adults.
The shooting of Abe is an important part of the book but it stays a bit in the back burner. It’s the elephant in the room that doesn’t exactly show itself all the time but you know it is there. When the truth comes out and that guilt is released, you exhale because its the tension within the novel and you’re just happy to let it go.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It is simple but then complicated (in a good way) with overlapping issues that push the reader’s involvement on a emotional level. You are able to connect to the characters, not just Lowen but to everyone in the family and that is a hard thing to do as a writer knowing that more than likely adults will read your book.
I would recommend this read, especially for kids who need to see grief play out and see a different way to deal with your past and what looks like your future.