In Audrey Shafer's compelling debut novel, Gabe Pace remains trapped in Virginia's foster care system until a social worker finds his Uncle Vernon. As this crusty old Vietnam veteran connects with his nine-year-old nephew, Gabe grows to love his cantankerous but caring uncle. On his first day of sixth grade, however, Gabe discovers his uncle's dead body. Fearing a return to foster care, Gabe keeps Vernon's death a secret. But when he arrives home the next day, Gabe is shocked to find his uncle's body missing and a cryptic note in his mailbox: "I have a secret." "Shafer's narrative is heartfelt, earnest and moving ."-Kirkus Reviews
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by Kristen Randle
by Gordon Korman
by Phil Lesh
by Watt Key
by Melissa Marr
by Leland Gregory
by Jonathan Friesen
"Vernon Culligan, dead since Chapter One, is the most vivid voice in this story as his orphaned nephew, Gabe, seeks to deal with his uncle's sudden death, the disappearance of his body, and odd supportive notes from him that keep appearing in the mailbox. Vernon, a reclusive Vietnam vet, has left a bequest of cranky homespun sayings that guide Gabe through his early days in sixth grade and his housework on the isolated farm where he lives. Nick Landrum imbues Gabe, his classmates, teachers, and other adults with individuality and character, especially the sharp-voiced sheriff who tries to sort out the uncle's death. Landrum's matter-of-fact narration through Gabe's eyes makes the boy's fate the listener's primary concern. D.P.D. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine"
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