4 out of 4 stars
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Pop’s by M.R. Gerbo is the first novel in The Erie Marsh Series told from the perspective of Mickey Pervitch, a teenage boy living in a small town in Michigan. The book takes place in 1968 and is filled with nostalgia from that time. The story begins when Mickey is fourteen-years-old and accepts a job as a busboy at a local diner called Pop’s. A large part of the story takes place at the diner. There is a wide range of characters that frequent Pop’s. The author’s descriptions of these characters and their backstories are entertaining and intriguing.
Another focus of the novel is Mickey’s family. He lives with his parents and his sister, Sissy. Although he is a loner and gets bullied at school, he manages to stay positive and always wants to help others. He has a complicated relationship with his father, but there is no doubt that they love and respect one another. There are some unsavory people that frequent the diner and Mickey grows up fast through his experiences there. When one of the employees at the diner is missing, the owner of Pop’s files a missing person report with the local police and a mystery begins to unravel. The book contains unsuspected twists and turns as the shocking secrets of the small town are exposed.
This book provided a suspenseful and fast-paced story that kept me engaged from beginning to end. The unique characters created by the author were multi-dimensional and interesting. What I liked most about this book was the characters. In the beginning of the book, the author devotes specific chapters to certain characters and their relationships with Mickey. In this way, even the minor characters were complex and added to the story. As the mysteries in the book begin to unravel, these characters appear again, and the seemingly unrelated stories come together in an amazing way.
I could not identify what I liked least about this book because I thoroughly enjoyed the story. There was so much to like about this book. The relationships between the characters had depth and rich history provided through back stories. The character of Mickey was exceptionally well written. For example, the awkwardness of a fourteen-year-old on his first date was captured beautifully by the author. Most readers can relate to the relationships in this story and the experiences of being a teenager. He was naïve at times, but also thoughtful and sincere.
The book contains some profanity and descriptions of sexual situations that would make it inappropriate for young readers. I would recommend this book to young adult and older readers who enjoy mystery novels and stories told from the point of view of a teenage boy trying to find his place in the world. I only saw one minor error in the book, but it did not distract from my enjoyment of the book. I believe the book was professionally edited. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars and would highly recommend it. I look forward to reading the next novel in The Erie Marsh Series.
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