THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF MIKE by Kathryn Erskine (Philomel 2011) takes Mike away for summer from his mathematician father and into the loves of his great aunt and uncle. Moo and Poppy have recently lost their son, and when Mike arrives at their home he finds Poppy sitting catatonically in his lounge chair and Moo trying hard to manage the household without electricity. Mike frantically texts his father who is so disconnected (literally sometimes) that he does nt understand how dire the situation is. Instead, he tells Mike to help with the artesian screw project (which thanks to the muddling from Moo is actually an artisan crew project). Mike becomes involved in the town's effort to help a resident adopt a young boy (named Mike) from Romania. They will need $40,000 to make the dream a reality. Mike has some ideas to help them raise the needed cash. In joining in, Mike learns his strengths (even though mathis not one of them). <332>
Eccentric characters, laugh out loud moments, and best of all, a satisfying resolution to the many conflicts of the characters makes this a quick and enjoyable read, one that linger after the last pages are turned.