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All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Review

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Eleven-year-old Perry T. Cook has grown up in the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility, but he is no criminal. Perry’s mother, Jessica, is the inmate --- or resident, rather, as they say at Blue River. Blue River is a minimum security correctional facility in the tiny town of Surprise, Nebraska. And with the warden as Perry’s foster care provider, Perry is allowed to live inside the facility with his mother.

That is until ambitious district attorney Thomas VanLeer hears about Jessica’s special arrangement and takes Perry to live with him and his family.

As if starting middle school isn’t hard enough. Not only is Perry forced to live “on the outside,” but he is shocked to find out VanLeer is the stepdad of Perry’s best friend from school, Zoey.

"ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK by Leslie Connor is written with such warmth and heart that you can feel it jump out from the pages."

Now Perry has to cope with being away from the only home he has ever known while figuring out how to be reunited with his mom after VanLeer delays Jessica’s parole application. Bullies, although Perry has them, are the least of his problems.

ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK by Leslie Connor is written with such warmth and heart that you can feel it jump out from the pages. Perry is sweet, determined and calm --- maybe even too rational at times, given his age --- but most of all he is hopeful. Hope and positive thinking are themes throughout the novel. How anyone, in any situation, can rise up.

The residents of Blue River are diverse and complex and are just like any other family: slightly dysfunctional, but loveable anyway. Thomas VanLeer, the almost too bumbling villain, is the only one who cannot see the normalcy in Perry’s unusual upbringing.

The ending does seem a little too put together and tied up nicely, and certain chapters run a tad long. However, readers will be simultaneously charmed by Connor’s affectionate, clever writing and educated on criminal justice. ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK is a story that needs to be told, especially to middle grade readers. Leslie Connor does well to show that “home” is subjective, and comes in many different forms. But sometimes the home is not as important as the type of family that resides in it.

Reviewed by Margret Wiggins on February 8, 2016

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
by Leslie Connor

  • Publication Date: December 5, 2017
  • Genres: Children's 8-12, Family Life, Mystery
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • ISBN-10: 006233347X
  • ISBN-13: 9780062333476