4 out of 4 stars
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When the Washburn family is relocated to Milwaukee, Tom and Mike Washburn are forced to bunk with one another due to the close quarters of the small duplex. Much to their dismay, their new room is a little unfinished attic with no heat and a shoddy bathroom. While trying to keep warm one night, they make a small fire in the old bathtub. When they begin to peel up the broken tiles, they come face-to-face with a large sum of money.
The boys are on top of the world. Their father, Francis, doesn't make much on a reverend's salary, and this money could buy them several things. The boys make a pact to keep it a secret as they know if their parents caught wind of their discovery, they would probably take the money and give it away to the church. Life is working out perfectly for the brothers until their house is broken into, and a strange car keeps parking outside of their home.
Someone else knows about the money, and they are determined to find it.
Hackett Street by Paul Hastings is a coming-of-age book about self-discovery, choices, and family secrets. Once I began reading, the story quickly pulled me in, and I read it in only two sittings. Hastings has created a book that is geared towards a YA audience. Still, as an adult, I found the story captivating, and the characters resonated with me.
The characters were diverse, which made the Washburn family relatable. I felt the most connected to Mike's character, who dealt with feelings of inadequacy as far as his mother was concerned. Alice Washburn was not the happiest in her situation, and Mike, being the eldest sibling, would often be at the front end of Alice's anger. The author did a fantastic job of conveying Mike's plight over feeling like his parents didn't love him.
Another thing that I loved about the book was the author's ability to weave several subplots into the story. Each family member had challenges that they needed to work through. Mike was trying to appease his parents, Tom was hopelessly in love, Annie wanted to be in the choir, and Alice and Francis were dealing with some backlash from the church. With all of this going on, it still didn't detract from the central conflict in the story.
Money is a tricky thing; it can provide security and opportunity, but it can also tear families apart. I thought Hastings provided a clear picture of this as conflicts began to arise in the story. Many people were affected by this money, and it caused quite a rift between family members. It was apparent that the author intended to force readers to think about what they would do if they were in this situation. Would money ultimately be more important than family?
Hackett Street was impeccably written and professionally edited; I only noticed one error! I chose to give the book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. The book was easy to read, and the plot provided a clear direction of where it was going.
For readers who enjoy stories about family secrets, this one will appeal to you! The characters are flawed but lovable and remind you that no family is perfect. I would recommend Hackett Street to readers young and old as it has something for everyone.
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