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Family Ties


Family Ties

Family --- it means many things to many people. To Kevin Spencer, it means a mixed bag of relatives trying to get along. And, according to Kevin, that’s not easy to do. Kevin’s father isn’t speaking to Kevin’s uncle because the last time his uncle showed up at the house, chaos ensued. So when Kevin invites his uncle to visit, without his father’s knowledge or consent, you know there’s going to be trouble --- especially since Kevin’s uncle brings his new wife, his five-year-old pyromaniac stepson and an incontinent dog.

But, that’s just the beginning of the trouble. Kevin gets the bright idea of hosting a wedding. His uncle got married in a private ceremony with no family attending. Kevin thinks they should have a “real” wedding, one involving family. And not only does he think this is a good idea, but he plans on hosting it in the backyard in one week. It can’t be that hard, can it?

This is Paulsen’s fifth book to feature Kevin Spencer…if they’re as funny as this one, I wouldn’t mind reading them all.

As you can imagine, if something can go wrong, it does. Not only does Kevin run into problems getting everything together, but the quiet family wedding turns into something bigger when other relatives show up unexpectedly and a double wedding is planned. And if that weren’t enough, Kevin is in middle school and he has to keep up with all his assignments while he is doing all the planning for the ceremony.

Author Gary Paulsen is probably best known for his survival-type books featuring Brian Robeson, a boy who must fend for himself to survive in less-than-ideal conditions. However, Paulsen also has a knack for humor and has written many books with a comedic bent. This is Paulsen’s fifth book to feature Kevin Spencer, and I haven’t read any of the others. However, if they’re as funny as this one, I wouldn’t mind reading them all.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on July 30, 2014

Family Ties
by Gary Paulsen

  • Publication Date: July 22, 2014
  • Genres: Children's
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
  • ISBN-10: 0385373805
  • ISBN-13: 9780385373807