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Publisher's Summary

Though he thinks of himself as a cowboy, Tommy is really a bully. He's always playing cruel jokes on classmates or stealing from the store. But Tommy has a reason: life at home is tough. His abusive mother isn't well; in fact, she may be mentally ill, and his sister, Mary Lou, is in the hospital badly burned from doing a chore it was really Tommy's turn to do. To make amends, Tommy takes over Mary Lou's paper route. But the paper route also becomes the perfect way for Tommy to investigate his neighbors after stumbling across a copy of The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper.

Tommy is shocked to learn that one of his neighbors could be a communist, and soon fear of a communist in this tight-knit community takes hold of everyone when Tommy uses the paper to frame a storeowner, Mr. McKenzie. As Mr. McKenzie's business slowly falls apart and Mary Lou doesn't seem to get any better, Tommy's mother's abuse gets worse, causing Tommy's bullying to spiral out of control.

Poignantly written, Kristin Levine proves herself a master of gripping and affecting historical fiction.

©2014 Kristin Levine (P)2014 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

“A sophisticated, powerful story about a community’s ability to help one another out, and the paper cowboy who helps bring them together.” (Booklist, starred review)

“A thoughtful story about understanding and compassion, distinguished by complex characters and a supportive, tight-knit community.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“Tommy's struggle to bring his family together ends up bringing the whole community together. His journey is filled with many lessons for young readers and many historically accurate portrayals of life at that time...the lessons--acceptance of others, coming together to help others, forgiveness, and coping with mental illness - are well worth teaching.” (Examiner.com)

What listeners say about The Paper Cowboy

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Great but...

I love it but the voice is super plain and flat it needs a more expressed voice I love it though

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Captivating Journey

I have loved all of this authors books and I am not big on spoilers so I will say this book was an audible page turner. I stayed up almost all night binging it was simply that compelling to know what was next. The narrator was a delight which I think is key in audio books as well.