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The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom

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A heartwarming amateur detective story set in Depression-Era St. Louis from beloved author A.E. Hotchner. Street-savvy, almost-thirteen-year-old Aaron Broom is parking his father's car when he witnesses a robbery gone wrong in a jewlery store across the street. To Aaron's shock his father, a travelling watch salesman in the wrong place at the wrong time, is fingered as th A heartwarming amateur detective story set in Depression-Era St. Louis from beloved author A.E. Hotchner. Street-savvy, almost-thirteen-year-old Aaron Broom is parking his father's car when he witnesses a robbery gone wrong in a jewlery store across the street. To Aaron's shock his father, a travelling watch salesman in the wrong place at the wrong time, is fingered as the prime suspect in the murder. Despite seeing the real killer flee the scene, Aaron can't do much to help in the moment--no one will take a kid's word for it. Undaunted, Aaron enlists an unlikely band of friends and helpful adults to clear his father's name. Aaron's unusual mission is complicated by the painful realities of the Depression: his father's longtime business folded, leaving the family in financial straits; his mother is in a sanatorium after a near-death experience with tuberculosis. So Aaron is forced to fend for himself while his father is held in wrongful custody: he ducks truant officers and nosy neighbors, landlords and social workers, and he bumms meals from friends and relatives alike. In his ersatz search for justice, Aaron draws upon the resources of a world-weary paperboy, an aspiring teen journalist, a kindly lawyer, and neighborhood friend with a penchant for baking. And as they dig into the details of the case, these unconventional detectives reveal a cover-up that goes much deeper than a jewelry-store heist gone sour. Through it all, Aaron's optimistic narration and plucky resourcefulness shine through. Hotchner's latest is a rollicking ride through St. Louis at its lowest, as seen through the eyes of his most lovable narrator to date.


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A heartwarming amateur detective story set in Depression-Era St. Louis from beloved author A.E. Hotchner. Street-savvy, almost-thirteen-year-old Aaron Broom is parking his father's car when he witnesses a robbery gone wrong in a jewlery store across the street. To Aaron's shock his father, a travelling watch salesman in the wrong place at the wrong time, is fingered as th A heartwarming amateur detective story set in Depression-Era St. Louis from beloved author A.E. Hotchner. Street-savvy, almost-thirteen-year-old Aaron Broom is parking his father's car when he witnesses a robbery gone wrong in a jewlery store across the street. To Aaron's shock his father, a travelling watch salesman in the wrong place at the wrong time, is fingered as the prime suspect in the murder. Despite seeing the real killer flee the scene, Aaron can't do much to help in the moment--no one will take a kid's word for it. Undaunted, Aaron enlists an unlikely band of friends and helpful adults to clear his father's name. Aaron's unusual mission is complicated by the painful realities of the Depression: his father's longtime business folded, leaving the family in financial straits; his mother is in a sanatorium after a near-death experience with tuberculosis. So Aaron is forced to fend for himself while his father is held in wrongful custody: he ducks truant officers and nosy neighbors, landlords and social workers, and he bumms meals from friends and relatives alike. In his ersatz search for justice, Aaron draws upon the resources of a world-weary paperboy, an aspiring teen journalist, a kindly lawyer, and neighborhood friend with a penchant for baking. And as they dig into the details of the case, these unconventional detectives reveal a cover-up that goes much deeper than a jewelry-store heist gone sour. Through it all, Aaron's optimistic narration and plucky resourcefulness shine through. Hotchner's latest is a rollicking ride through St. Louis at its lowest, as seen through the eyes of his most lovable narrator to date.

30 review for The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom

  1. 3 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was a wonderful read. Set during the depression, The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom follows a young boy whose family has been hit hard. His mother is in a sanitarium suffering from consumption and his father has been held over in jail as a material witness to murder. With his apartment shuttered by the authorities and child services at his heels, the young Aaron Broom sets out to "detectify" the identity of the killer and free his father. A precocious boy, he refers to the heroes of his This was a wonderful read. Set during the depression, The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom follows a young boy whose family has been hit hard. His mother is in a sanitarium suffering from consumption and his father has been held over in jail as a material witness to murder. With his apartment shuttered by the authorities and child services at his heels, the young Aaron Broom sets out to "detectify" the identity of the killer and free his father. A precocious boy, he refers to the heroes of his favorite mystery books (Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Inspector Poirot) to solve the mystery. Aaron Broom is a delightful character -- thoughtful, selfless, dependable, honest to the core, a true friend -- he is what we wish all of our children to be.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bam

    *3.5 stars rounded up. I would rank this heart-warming story as YA, suitable for ages twelve and up. Set in St Louis, Missouri during the Great Depression (probably 1933--the year when Prohibition was overturned by FDR), the story is told in first-person narrative by 12-year-old Aaron Broom. He is in a very difficult situation: his mother is in a sanitarium for treatment of consumption and now his father has been arrested and is being held in jail as a material witness in connection with a jewel *3.5 stars rounded up. I would rank this heart-warming story as YA, suitable for ages twelve and up. Set in St Louis, Missouri during the Great Depression (probably 1933--the year when Prohibition was overturned by FDR), the story is told in first-person narrative by 12-year-old Aaron Broom. He is in a very difficult situation: his mother is in a sanitarium for treatment of consumption and now his father has been arrested and is being held in jail as a material witness in connection with a jewelry store heist where a clerk was killed. To make matters worse, Aaron has been locked out of their apartment and is being sought by a mean lady from Family Services. What can a poor kid do to prove his father innocent? Start asking questions,'detectifying' in Aaron's own words, and figure out who was the killer. Aaron is truly a good kid, smart, resourceful, thoughtful and brave. If anyone can figure this out, he can. Each chapter is labelled a 'Happening' in Aaron's amazing adventures. This is a quick, fun read with an interesting setting and likable characters. Whenever there's a protagonist of about this age, there's always that feeling that they are smart but not experienced enough to know how the world really works. I received an arc of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review. Many thanks!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    3.5 stars A wonderful heart warming story about a 12 year old boy, Aaron, during the Depression. He and his family have been having a hard time. His mother is ill and in a sanitarium and he and his father are living a very rough life. They keep an eye on the car so it's not repossessed and move apartments every few months taking advantage of free rent offers and then sneaking out when the offer expires. His father gets a job selling watches Bulova watches and makes a call on a jewelry store whil 3.5 stars A wonderful heart warming story about a 12 year old boy, Aaron, during the Depression. He and his family have been having a hard time. His mother is ill and in a sanitarium and he and his father are living a very rough life. They keep an eye on the car so it's not repossessed and move apartments every few months taking advantage of free rent offers and then sneaking out when the offer expires. His father gets a job selling watches Bulova watches and makes a call on a jewelry store while Aaron sits in the car so it can't be repossessed. A man follows hid Dad in the store and there is a sound of shots ringing out. A man runs out and his father is arrested for robbery and murder. The story revolves around Aaron trying to get his dad out of jail, finding the real killer and mostly surviving. He can't get back into his apartment as the police have locked it up. He ends up sleeping in a hammock in a park and scrounging for food. He meets some wonderful people who are genuinely kind to him. It also shows that often people who have the least are the most generous. I would say this is a YA book and it would be great to give them a little history on the Depression and how bad it really was. I still have my parents stories about the time ringing in my ears but my grandkids don't have that so this would be a wonderful way to learn something. It's also a great reminder to be kind to people me meet. It was really an uplifting story that I enjoyed. Thanks to Net Galley and Doubleday for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

  4. 3 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. During the depression, a kid's father is mistakenly arrested for taking part in a jewel robbery. The kid has to go it alone, and try to get his father out of jail. He has a lot of adventures and manages to eke out a living in the big city. Pretty good.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    When I read the blurb for The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom, in my mind, I pictured The Sandlot if you just replaced baseball with a crime-solving caper. I wasn’t too far off the mark. The book certainly has an entertaining cast of characters from the wonderful Vernon who makes gourmet meals on a “beat-up smoky stove” to Augie, a newspaper selling kid who befriends Aaron and goes above and beyond in helping him solve the mystery of what really happened inside the jewelry store. There’s an inn When I read the blurb for The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom, in my mind, I pictured The Sandlot if you just replaced baseball with a crime-solving caper. I wasn’t too far off the mark. The book certainly has an entertaining cast of characters from the wonderful Vernon who makes gourmet meals on a “beat-up smoky stove” to Augie, a newspaper selling kid who befriends Aaron and goes above and beyond in helping him solve the mystery of what really happened inside the jewelry store. There’s an innocence to Aaron and to many of the characters that is a throwback to long-gone simpler times. Despite The Depression and the terrible situation that Aaron’s father and mother are in, Aaron never loses his spirit, his faith, or his soul. He finds complete strangers along the way who are willing to help him without any selfishness or expectation of getting something in return. The book has a beautiful nostalgia for a way a life and a sense of community that have been lost in modern times. While adults will appreciate the way Hotchner captures the era of The Great Depression, I think it is teenagers who will really enjoy this crime solving caper.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Old school storytelling at its best. A heartwarming tale of a thirteen year old trying to free his father from jail during the depression. Authentic historical detail adds to the charm of this story. Perfect for the holidays.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Lomazow

    A novel set in the depression era a young boy Aaron who takes on the role of an amateur detective.This is so atmospheric drew me right in back to a time and place an era we read about in history books.highly recommend,

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dgordon

    Aaron Broom is trying to survive the Depression when his father is arrested for being involved in a murder and jewelry store robbery. Aaron uses all his smarts and optimism to free his father, along with the help of old friends and new. A charming, heartwarming story that will melt your heart.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Clair

    Silly little tale that really didn’t suit my taste but I can’t deny it was charming and extremely well written.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom by A. E. Hotchner is a charming depression era story set in St. Louis featuring a young protagonist. It is very highly recommended Twelve-year-old Aarom Broom (almost thirteen) is guarding his father's car from the repleviners, two guys from the finance company who would repossess the car for non-payment if they see it. His father, Fred, has an appointment at a jewelry store to show them his samples of Bulova watches - and hopefully sell them some. When his f The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom by A. E. Hotchner is a charming depression era story set in St. Louis featuring a young protagonist. It is very highly recommended Twelve-year-old Aarom Broom (almost thirteen) is guarding his father's car from the repleviners, two guys from the finance company who would repossess the car for non-payment if they see it. His father, Fred, has an appointment at a jewelry store to show them his samples of Bulova watches - and hopefully sell them some. When his father is buzzed into the jewlery store, pulling his large sample case behind him, Aaron sees a fat man follow quickly follow his father into the store. Then he hears shots, a window shatters, and the fat man runs out of the store, tucking a gun into his waistband. The police show up and Aaron's father is soon being handcuffed and detained by the police. Eavesdropping on the officers, Aaron learns that his father is considered a material witness and possible accomplice. He will be held without bail. Since his mother is currently at a tuberculosis sanitarium, Aaron is on his own. He quickly surmises that he needs to do some "detectifying" and find out the identity of the real robber. First he will find a way to get his father's car moved and hid in a safe place, then he is going to start looking into the jewelry store employees. Aaron wrangles together a group of friends to help him, including the building manager, a newspaper boy, an ex-neighbor girl, and a kind lawyer, all while hiding from the juvenile welfare officer, trying to find his next meal, and a safe place to sleep. The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom is an old-fashioned tale about a self-reliant, determined young man whose clever sleuthing helps him find the answers he needs to free his father. There is a real sense of community and helpfulness that we don't generally see today portrayed in the novel. Are the answers a bit too convenient for Aaron to find? Sure, but Aaron is an appealing, optimistic, and undaunted narrator. Hotchner provides plenty of period details viewed in the matter-of-fact way a twelve-year-old would view them. This is a delightful, fast-paced, old-fashioned detective story that was a sheer delight to read. (Apparently some of this story was also covered in Hotchner's autobiographical novel, King of the Hill, 1972, which I now have on my wish list.) Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House. http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2018/0...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gaele

    A quick and enjoyable read, told from the perspective of twelve (near thirteen) year old Aaron Broom. He’s a big fan of mystery stories, and frequently refers to his heroes of Holmes, Poirot and Miss Marple, as his story progresses through an admittedly darker and more trying period. Aaron’s father’s business, like many in the time, has folded, and money is tight. Perhaps things could work out, but his mother is in a sanatorium for tubercular patients, and his father is currently being held as a A quick and enjoyable read, told from the perspective of twelve (near thirteen) year old Aaron Broom. He’s a big fan of mystery stories, and frequently refers to his heroes of Holmes, Poirot and Miss Marple, as his story progresses through an admittedly darker and more trying period. Aaron’s father’s business, like many in the time, has folded, and money is tight. Perhaps things could work out, but his mother is in a sanatorium for tubercular patients, and his father is currently being held as a material witness to a jewelry store heist and murder. Unfortunately, Aaron’s father WAS in the store, hoping to offload some watches and get some money for things like rent, food and life. He was unlucky enough to be shadowed into the store by the real culprit, but the police think it’s probable he was involved. This leaves our protagonist in a pickle. The apartment is unavailable to him with his father in jail, there are people from child services looking to find him and put him in care, and he’s feeling responsible to keep the family’s car hidden from the repossession agents. All at twelve. Fortunately, aside from his determination and a clear way of sorting through information, he’s also got friends willing to help him “detectify”, and even with the scarcity of everything, and the grey cloud of the depression looming over everyone, the ability of Aaron to focus, keep moving and stay mostly positive in the face of overwhelming odds and with a bit of help from his friends is lovely. Perfect for middle grade readers, to give a sense of Aaron and his friends, the unique problem-solving thought process and the moments where the realities of Depression-Era St. Louis feel both honest and intriguing, when seen from this perspective. It’s not a twisty-turny case, and there are some clues that fairly drop into his hands, but Aaron carefully sorts the pieces to find his answer, and gives a clever, if quick to read, story along the way. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed

  12. 3 out of 5

    Sofie Hern

    I think I really enjoyed this book. There were a few lines that made me cringe (being the feminist that I am) but I understand that's the way things were back then. I enjoyed all the references to classic novels and authors.. I thought Aaron Broom was a likable character. I was rooting for him from the beginning. I liked most of the characters he encounters in his adventures but thought the story moved a bit too quickly (I read this in one sitting). I am a big fan of historical fiction, with sto I think I really enjoyed this book. There were a few lines that made me cringe (being the feminist that I am) but I understand that's the way things were back then. I enjoyed all the references to classic novels and authors.. I thought Aaron Broom was a likable character. I was rooting for him from the beginning. I liked most of the characters he encounters in his adventures but thought the story moved a bit too quickly (I read this in one sitting). I am a big fan of historical fiction, with stories about the great depression being at the top of my list, which was why I requested this book. This reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books, No Promises in The Wind by Irene Hunt. It touches on the same struggles of the depression as well as kids finding ways to survive in this period. I am a glutton for punishment and want a book to make me cry! I want to sob and curse and cry some more. Though this book didn't have that effect on me, I think I liked it. It reads like a neat story you could possibly read with your kids,. Maybe.

  13. 3 out of 5

    Ken Kugler

    I have to say that, “The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom, A Novel”, by A. E. Hotchner, was a fantastic read. It really surprised me even though I was attracted to its old fashion cover. The cover reminded me of something I would have expected on a Mark Twain book. Aaron is a young boy of 12 years. One day he is in the auto of his father, watching it so it is not repossessed, it being the depression. His father is walking into a jewelry store when a man sneaks in behind him and robs the joint. H I have to say that, “The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom, A Novel”, by A. E. Hotchner, was a fantastic read. It really surprised me even though I was attracted to its old fashion cover. The cover reminded me of something I would have expected on a Mark Twain book. Aaron is a young boy of 12 years. One day he is in the auto of his father, watching it so it is not repossessed, it being the depression. His father is walking into a jewelry store when a man sneaks in behind him and robs the joint. His father is taken into custody while the police try to find who the murderer is. The trials and tribulations that Aaron goes through in trying to figure out who done it is a fun and entertaining read. The characters who try to help AND hinder him are colorful and a lot of fun to read. Aaron’s vocabulary and his use of words remind me a bit of the old show, “The Bowery Boys”. He uses large words sometimes and the way he fumbles a bit is funny and endearing. This is a book I would like to read a sequel to but a found out while reading this book the author is 98 or 101 and this is not a misprint. A. E. Hotchner is a founder, along with Paul Newman, of Newman’s Own. Who knows, maybe he will surprise me!!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    Thanks to Goodreads Giveaways and Doubleday for a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom! This is a heartwarming middle-grade mystery novel. The main character is a delight. I wanted to read this book because I thought the setting - Depression-era St. Louis - would be fascinating, and I would imagine that the intended audience for this book would enjoy learning something about this time period while reading an entertaining story. My own family is from St. Louis, and it was fun to read abou Thanks to Goodreads Giveaways and Doubleday for a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom! This is a heartwarming middle-grade mystery novel. The main character is a delight. I wanted to read this book because I thought the setting - Depression-era St. Louis - would be fascinating, and I would imagine that the intended audience for this book would enjoy learning something about this time period while reading an entertaining story. My own family is from St. Louis, and it was fun to read about the Muny and Forest Park and other places in the city that are familiar to me. The mystery is really farfetched and the loose ends are tied up too quickly, even for this type of novel. I want to believe in the main character’s abilities, but for a 12 year old to make these kinds of deductive leaps is just too incredible. It was unsatisfying as a result. But the rest of the story is charming and makes up for some of what is lost otherwise. One smaller quibble: the word “broach” is used several times to mean a piece of jewelry. Technically this is an accepted alternate spelling, but “brooch” is the more commonly used version. Unless it was popularly spelled that way in the 1930s and I just don’t know about it, an editor should have caught that and corrected it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Received an advanced copy in exchange for a fair review. The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom is a perfectly charming period YA mystery with a lovable protagonist. The titular adventures begin immediately as Aaron sees his father caught up in a jewelry store robbery in Depression-era St. Louis. He is held as a material witness and Aaron spends the novel dodging juvenile services and investigating the robbery gone wrong to find out who shot a clerk. There are times when the logical leaps Aaron is Received an advanced copy in exchange for a fair review. The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom is a perfectly charming period YA mystery with a lovable protagonist. The titular adventures begin immediately as Aaron sees his father caught up in a jewelry store robbery in Depression-era St. Louis. He is held as a material witness and Aaron spends the novel dodging juvenile services and investigating the robbery gone wrong to find out who shot a clerk. There are times when the logical leaps Aaron is able to make seem to be a stretch for a 12-year-old... but the mystery unfolds compellingly and as Aaron takes you around St. Louis and explains how he survives in the Depression, you stop nit-picking as much. Hotchner has created a fun character I could see coming back to in a future novel as he solves more crimes and revisits the characters introduced here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gary Brecht

    One of the virtues of good fiction writing is that it can transport us from today’s world to another time and place. In this novel A.E Hotchner conveys us to Depression era St. Louis, Missouri. Aaron Bloom, our 12 year old protagonist, his mother recuperating in a TB sanitarium, accompanies his father on his job as a watch salesman. One afternoon the jewelry shop his father has just entered explodes into violence. A robbery takes place, a man is shot and killed, and Aaron’s father becomes a mate One of the virtues of good fiction writing is that it can transport us from today’s world to another time and place. In this novel A.E Hotchner conveys us to Depression era St. Louis, Missouri. Aaron Bloom, our 12 year old protagonist, his mother recuperating in a TB sanitarium, accompanies his father on his job as a watch salesman. One afternoon the jewelry shop his father has just entered explodes into violence. A robbery takes place, a man is shot and killed, and Aaron’s father becomes a material witness unlikely to be released from jail until he can prove he is not a co-conspirator of the killer. The story of Aaron’s determination and resourcefulness is an uplifting tale. Moreover, this novel is a delightful pleasure, sure to make the reader forget for awhile the tribulations of today’s world.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Potenza

    My favorite quote from the book "when things get looking bleak, you can always cheer up by expecting the unexpected." This was a quick read, but the main character is someone you will come to love! Aaron is a 12 year old boy growing up during the Depression. His mother is in a sanitarium and his father has been put in a "holding" cell after he witnesses a jewelry store robbery. Aaron sets out on his own to find the robbers and clear his father of any wrongdoing. His tenacity and sense of right a My favorite quote from the book "when things get looking bleak, you can always cheer up by expecting the unexpected." This was a quick read, but the main character is someone you will come to love! Aaron is a 12 year old boy growing up during the Depression. His mother is in a sanitarium and his father has been put in a "holding" cell after he witnesses a jewelry store robbery. Aaron sets out on his own to find the robbers and clear his father of any wrongdoing. His tenacity and sense of right and wrong is what makes this story so special! He is such a self-reliant child who is forced to think on his feet and support himself with the help of others that have influenced him. He makes friends wherever he goes and just cannot help but be honest and so darn smart! I just loved this character and the storyline!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Merle

    This fun mystery novel is a whodunit to find out who the jewel thieves are that have implicated his father in their heist. With his father in jail, his mother in a sanitarium with tuberculosis, he finds ways to be very resourceful to try and stay one step ahead of child welfare services and uncover the real culprits in the robbery. Despite seeing the real killer flee the scene, Aaron can't do much to help in the moment. Undaunted, he enlists an unlikely band of friends and helpful adults to clea This fun mystery novel is a whodunit to find out who the jewel thieves are that have implicated his father in their heist. With his father in jail, his mother in a sanitarium with tuberculosis, he finds ways to be very resourceful to try and stay one step ahead of child welfare services and uncover the real culprits in the robbery. Despite seeing the real killer flee the scene, Aaron can't do much to help in the moment. Undaunted, he enlists an unlikely band of friends and helpful adults to clear his father's name, including a world-weary paperboy, an aspiring teen journalist, a kindly lawyer, and a neighborhood friend with a penchant for baking. And as they dig into the details of the case, these unconventional detectives reveal a cover-up that goes much deeper than a jewelry-store heist gone sour.

  19. 3 out of 5

    Sue D.

    This is a feel-good and touching book about inspiring child sleuth Aaron Broom. 12-year-old Aaron is growing up rough in Depression-era St. Louis. Having lost everything when their bank closed, he and his father move from apartment to apartment trying to earn a living while Aaron's mother is in a sanatorium with tuberculosis. While his father is making a sales call at a jewelry store, the store is robbed and an employee killed. Mr. Broom is held by the police as a material witness and Aaron is l This is a feel-good and touching book about inspiring child sleuth Aaron Broom. 12-year-old Aaron is growing up rough in Depression-era St. Louis. Having lost everything when their bank closed, he and his father move from apartment to apartment trying to earn a living while Aaron's mother is in a sanatorium with tuberculosis. While his father is making a sales call at a jewelry store, the store is robbed and an employee killed. Mr. Broom is held by the police as a material witness and Aaron is locked out of their apartment. Eluding Child Welfare, Aaron enlists the help of a group of quirky characters to find the killer in order to get his father released. A quick, fun read with a spunky child protagonist.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    My library catalogs this as adult but I'm not sure why. The 12 year old narrator finds himself alone with a challenge but he's smart and resourceful, a good problem solver, trustworthy loyal cheerful brave.... he makes friends with good people who help him and it all works out in the end. The story is set in Depression era St. Louis so it checks the "historical" genre box and has a lot of educational period details: a Hooverville, a fireside chat, a bank failure, a tuberculosis sanitarium, reple My library catalogs this as adult but I'm not sure why. The 12 year old narrator finds himself alone with a challenge but he's smart and resourceful, a good problem solver, trustworthy loyal cheerful brave.... he makes friends with good people who help him and it all works out in the end. The story is set in Depression era St. Louis so it checks the "historical" genre box and has a lot of educational period details: a Hooverville, a fireside chat, a bank failure, a tuberculosis sanitarium, repleviners (a new one for me). The sense of time and place are excellent and all the characters are interesting. There's a complicated mystery to solve. What 12 year old wouldn't want to read this? I think the movie would be like "Kit Kitteridge: An American Girl" (if you haven't seen that, look it up)

  21. 3 out of 5

    LInda L

    This was a wonderful book which leaves an indelible picture in your mind of the Great Depression and all its deprivations for the citizens. Set in St.Louis, a 12 year old boy is left alone when his father is kept in jail as a material witness to a murder. He survives very well, finding food, shelter, and helping to solve the mystery of who shot the man in the jewelry store. Some of the people who help him along the way are unforgettable -- Augie, Vernon, Pickles, Mr. Appleton and a few others. I This was a wonderful book which leaves an indelible picture in your mind of the Great Depression and all its deprivations for the citizens. Set in St.Louis, a 12 year old boy is left alone when his father is kept in jail as a material witness to a murder. He survives very well, finding food, shelter, and helping to solve the mystery of who shot the man in the jewelry store. Some of the people who help him along the way are unforgettable -- Augie, Vernon, Pickles, Mr. Appleton and a few others. It was funny and heartwarming and thought-provoking and would be a treat for anyone from 6 to 106.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I came across this book at the library and picked it up because of its size and title. This book is perfect for what it is: a slice of life mystery set in the depression and told through the voice of a 12 year old boy. Hotchner doesn’t make Aaron too smart for his age and as the boy navigates the world around him in an attempt to solve a mystery and save his father we go along for the ride cheering him on. A charming book that unfolds like a screenplay with a vivid set and clearly distinguishabl I came across this book at the library and picked it up because of its size and title. This book is perfect for what it is: a slice of life mystery set in the depression and told through the voice of a 12 year old boy. Hotchner doesn’t make Aaron too smart for his age and as the boy navigates the world around him in an attempt to solve a mystery and save his father we go along for the ride cheering him on. A charming book that unfolds like a screenplay with a vivid set and clearly distinguishable characters. I will look for more by Hotchner.

  23. 3 out of 5

    Kate Ayers

    Yeah, four and a half stars, really, maybe more. Sweet read. Aaron Broom is twelve, going on thirteen, living in St. Louis. His family lost everything when the bank closed as the Depression hit. Living is tough. And it gets tougher when his dad, a watch salesman, goes into a jewelry store at the wrong time. Shots are fire, a man falls to the floor, another flees, and the cops nab Aaron's dad. Now the kid has to do some detectifying to free his father. Aaron is a smart pre-teen, and his time lear Yeah, four and a half stars, really, maybe more. Sweet read. Aaron Broom is twelve, going on thirteen, living in St. Louis. His family lost everything when the bank closed as the Depression hit. Living is tough. And it gets tougher when his dad, a watch salesman, goes into a jewelry store at the wrong time. Shots are fire, a man falls to the floor, another flees, and the cops nab Aaron's dad. Now the kid has to do some detectifying to free his father. Aaron is a smart pre-teen, and his time learning how to survive has helped. Loads of fun seeing how he works this out.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Connie

    Enjoy fiction that takes place during the 1930's in America. Admired the courage and perseverance of young Aaron Broom. Admire this author and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for children with serious illnesses which A. E. Hotchner and actor Paul Newman founded. They also founded Newman's Own, Inc.

  25. 3 out of 5

    Vickie

    Fun short tale of Aaron Broom and his detectifyng skills! His father is being held in jail as a witness/suspect to a murder. Aaron knows he wasn't involved but it's left up to him and his friend, Augie, to get to the truth of the matter. He employs the help of Mr. Applegate, a maritime lawyer , to solve the mystery.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    A follow up to King of the Hill. Really 3.5 stars. A cute story about a boy growing up during the Depression and his father who happens to become part of a jewelry store robbery. Aaron Broom has learned street smarts and how to get by with no money. If only everyone who suffered during this time had the luck and optimism of Aaron.

  27. 3 out of 5

    Karlan

    Set during the Depression, this novel shows the clever struggles of young Aaron who struggles to free his father from jail and to visit his mother who has TB. Although the problems are serious, the telling is amusing and mostly exciting. I'd like to reread his KING OF THE HILL which I recall as quite funny.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barb Flory

    Delightful story of a twelve year old boy whose father is put in jail as a material witness to a robbery. He is completely on his own in the depths of the depression. Great insight into life in a Hooverville and the realities of the depression. Loved it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna Keating

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a very sincere story about a young kid persevering despite difficult situations during the Great Depression. I would love to see it as a movie. It would definitely be family friendly.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Sandy Pipp

    This is during the depression and Aaron trys to he help out his father. Enjoyed this story. He did not want to get struck in a home he wanted to be on his own until his father could get back. times were very hard then.

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