"Lord of the Deep" by Graham Salisbury
Even if you've never fished in your life, we bet you'll be hooked by this book about a 13-year-old deckhand in Hawaii.
Things are looking up for Mikey. It's not just him and his mom anymore, living in a rickety little house. Now he's got a great stepfather, Bill, and an adorable little half brother, Billy-Jay. Best of all, he's got his first real job doing something he loves to do -- working on his stepfather's sports fishing boat, which operates out of the Big Island's Kona Coast.
Mikey is working for tips while Bill tries to build his charter boat business and cover the medical bills of 3-year-old Billy-Jay, who is blind and has other health problems. When the boat is chartered by two rude brothers from Colorado, one of the brothers catches a record mahi-mahi in a riveting scene.
But there's more to this story than the struggle between man and fish. There's the struggle between man and man, between father and son, between security and conscience. And when one of the brothers wants to claim a prize for landing that mahi-mahi, all these struggles come into play.
As in real life, the book's struggles are not easily resolved. At the end, Mikey does something surprising but understandable. We bet you'll spend time pondering how you would have handled this tough situation.
-- Elizabeth Chang