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Holt Adkin is the kind of kid who every teacher hopes will be assigned to someone else's classroom, that every parent hopes will go hang out with some other family's children. He's from a home where there's a lot of yelling, a lot of arguing, a lot of instability. Holt is smart, scrappy, and not afraid of anything, least of all a trip to the principal's office or even the threat of suspension or expulsion. The only person at school who seems able to reach him is Mr. Patten, the art teacher. Holt has talent...but about zero desire to use it.Then Holt's brother, Winn---who seems to be on the fast track to a permanent jail cell--begins to wise up and untangle the mess he's making of his life, he tells Holt point blank that Holt needs to change, too. And Holt tries--but to change the attitudes of kids and teachers, to stop hanging with his less-than-savory friend, to take responsibility for his thoughts and actions--becomes the biggest challenge of his life, especially when a jealous former buddy tries to sabotage his efforts.From the master of the school story, a book about mentors and role models, about choosing friends, about the fine line between good-humored mischief and dangerous behavior, about the way everyday choices can close or open doors.