Setting Free the Kites by Alex George. Published by Putnam

It’s 1976 and Robert Carter is starting his first day in 8th grade in his small Maine town. He’s dreaded going back all summer because he knows the bully that tormented him the year before will be waiting  to begin torturing him anew. And Robert is right, but this year will be different. There is a new student in Robert’s class, a boy named Nathan Tilley, a boy who isn’t afraid to stand up against bullies, mean teachers or any other injustice that comes the way of 8th grade boys. Robert and Nathan become fast friends, and that bond is only strengthened by tragedy. That summer and the next the boys work at the amusement park, Nathan suffers the angst of unrequited love and exacts the funniest revenge on a bully I have ever read. This is a beautiful coming of age story about the friendship between two boys and how it saved them.

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