Saving Marty -- a Wonderful Middle School Book

Disclosure: Penguin Random House was sent me this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

Today I am going to share with you a book for middle schoolers that had me engrossed. The book is Saving Marty by Paul Griffin. Lorenzo Ventura is eleven and he lives with his mother and grandfather. His father died in the war. His best friend is a Colombian Korean American girl who wants to be a famous singer. His mother is always worried about money and keeping the farm. They live in rural Pennsylvania. When his mother sells the pigs that a neighbor left with them
after moving and accidentally leaves the runt in the barn, their dog adopts him as one of her puppies that she just had. The piglet grows up thinking he is a dog. Renzo names the pig after the father he never knew, Marty. Marty looks at Renzo with love. He wants to always be with him and will do anything for him. After the puppies are sold Marty is there like a dog. He and Bella (the actual but old dog) are part of the family, but what is Renzo going to do to be able to keep this pig that keeps getting larger and larger?  Then there is Pal's big opportunity. She gets a scholarship to a big music school in Pittsburgh and goes to their summer camp. Why does she stop calling Renzo? Did she really move past their friendship? They had been friends all their lives.

This book is about life as an eleven-year-old. He and his family have issues and skeletons in the closet. He always wants to know more about his father--the war hero. His mother seems angry whenever he brings him up. Why is that? He knows his mother says when he is old enough she will talk about it, but he feels old enough. Like many kids he is ready to grow up faster than his parent/guardians think is best. 

This book has so many levels and themes. It is about heroes and it is about life. It is about growing up and it is about family and struggles. It makes you want to keep reading to see what will happen next. The book is also an easy read. The chapters tend to be short and the words flow and are easy to understand. Of course a wonderful discussion with this book is what makes a hero. It would also be a great topic for an essay. What makes a hero to you? Are we surrounded by them or are there only a few? This book will have you thinking about it and more! I hope you will check it out or get it for your kid in grades 5-9.