Everything For A Dog by Ann M. Martin
In this companion to her acclaimed 2005 novel, A Dog’s Life, Ann M. Martin tells the parallel stories of a stray dog (the brother of the dog featured in A Dog’s Life), a boy dealing with unspeakable loss, and a boy whose most ardent wish is to own a dog—and everything for a dog.
Bone and his sister, Squirrel, are stray dogs born in a shed. Left motherless as puppies, the two dogs survive together for a while, but are soon wrenched apart. Bone doesn’t know if his sister is still alive, and must now go on, alone.
Charlie is a boy who has suffered a terrible loss. And, as he’s healing with the help of his dog, another tragedy occurs.
Henry’s best friend has moved away. All Henry has wanted is a dog of his own. But his parents won’t let him.
Bone, Charlie, and Henry live very different lives, but they are fated to intersect in surprising ways. Award-winning author Ann M. Martin has written a powerful, heartfelt novel that’s perfect for anyone who has ever longed for a dog, or loved one. (courtesy of Goodreads)
Ann M. Martin branched out after finishing the Babysitter's Club. She's written free-standing novels (including a Newberry Honor Award winner) and a new series (Main Street). Several years ago she wrote two books featuring stray dogs as middle characters. This is the companion novel to A Dog's Life, but it's not necessary to read the first book. This is more of a children's read than a middle grade read, but because the some of the subject matter is disturbing, it may be best handled by kids approaching the tween years.
We met Bone, Squirrel's brother, briefly in A Dog's Life. He is the main dog of Everything for a Dog. Unlike A Dog's Life, this book is not told entirely from a dog's perspective. The book shifts between Bone and two boys, Charlie and Henry as narrators. Bone's life is difficult but not as miserable as most of Squirrel's life. We see him in homes and also as a stray. We also learn about Charlie and Henry, two lonely boys. Charlie is dealing with the death of his older brother and turns to his brother's dog for comfort. Henry's best friend just moved away and he focuses his energy on convincing his parents to allow him to get a dog. The three narrators came together in a way I didn't expect. I really enjoyed the ending.
The book is designed to be fairly timeless. From the descriptions of Henry's and Charlie's home lives, I thought they grew up in the 50s but then things like e-mail were randomly mentioned I loved Martin's descriptions of the boys' hobbies and games. Full of outside playtime and imagination that kids today should do more of.
Some children may be disturbed by portions of this book. Possibly troublesome topics include a child's death (descriptively told), depression, and animal cruelty. Also much of the book is rather depressing - you have an unhappy dog and two unhappy boys. That doesn't mean it's a bad book - it was a great read - but some people might be turned off by the atmospherics.
Rating: 4 / 5