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Saving Marty
2017
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  Publishers Weekly Review

Griffin (When Friendship Followed Me Home) delivers a tender, sensitive portrayal of a boy beginning to wonder about his place in the world. Lorenzo Ventura, over six feet tall and 250 pounds at age 11, discovers a runt piglet left behind on his family's Pennsylvania peach orchard. Bella, the family's pet Lab, has just given birth to a litter of puppies, so she and Renzo both become caretakers of the small pig, which he names Marty after his late father, an Army sergeant. As the months pass, Renzo faces several life-changing situations, including his friend Paloma's musical success and revelations about his father; Marty has become such a steadying force that Renzo can't imagine life without him. Griffin infuses kindness into almost every scene, his well-drawn characters leave lasting impressions, and he gracefully delves into themes that include love, sacrifice, friendship, and accountability. Many readers will know a Renzo, the big-hearted kid who's a little different and has both hardships and undiscovered talents. There are no easy solutions to the characters' problems, nor outright villains, just struggling people navigating life. Ages 10-14. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Eleven-year-old Lorenzo "Renzo" Ventura's army veteran and musician father died before he was born. A school assignment forces Renzo to consider what it means to be a hero, which has him think deeply about his dad. Renzo lives with his mom and grandfather, Double Pop, on a financially failing farm. A piglet is left behind instead of taken to auction, and Renzo decides to name it Marty, after his late father. Renzo also dreams of running away to California with his best friend Paloma Lee to play music and visit the site where his father's ashes are scattered. Renzo treats Marty like a pet, including racing him at a festival, where he and Paloma Lee play their music and are invited to perform on an live radio broadcast. Throughout the story, Renzo reads letters written by his father, leading him to wonder about a woman, Hana, who frequently appears in the letters. Griffin's novel explores the experience of losing one's home, uncovering difficult truths, and learning the meaning of heroism. Each character is well-developed, and Griffin does an excellent job depicting the financial struggles of life on a farm. Readers who enjoy music will appreciate the sheet music and lyrics interspersed throughout. Small mysteries also add intrigue and propel the plot. VERDICT This moving story will appeal to readers who love realistic fiction with music, animals, and a dash of humor.-Liz Anderson, DC Public Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
Fans of Because of Winn Dixie will adore this warm and heart-wrenching story of the friendship between a boy and a pig who thinks it's a dog. <br> <br> Eleven-year-old Lorenzo Ventura knows heroes are rare--like his father, who died in the war, or his friend Paloma Lee, who fearlessly pursues her dream of being a famous musician. Renzo would never describe himself as a hero, but his chance comes when he adopts Marty, a runt piglet.<br> <br> Marty is extraordinary--he thinks he's a dog and acts like one too--and his bond with Renzo is truly one of a kind. At first, the family farm seems like the perfect home for Marty, but as he approaches 350 pounds, it becomes harder for Renzo to convince his mom that a giant pig makes a good pet. So when Marty causes a dangerous (and expensive) accident, Renzo knows Marty's time is up. He'd do anything and everything for his best friend, but will everything be enough to save Marty?<br> <br> Paul Griffin masterfully melds the heartrending and the hopeful in this unforgettable story about the power of friendship . . . and the unsung heroes all around us.
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