Lincoln and his mother escaped an abusive situation and have started a new life in a new town. Lincoln's mother has a job as a caregiver at a nursing home, and every day after school Lincoln goes to Brookside and spends his afternoons with his mother and the residents. The home cares for Alzheimer's patients, and things can get pretty crazy sometimes, but Lincoln admires how his mother and the other caregivers take care of the "oldies". Life is more complicated at school. Lincoln is so afraid that the other kids will find out where he spends his afternoons, that he keeps to himself and spends all his free time writing stories in his notebooks. Then Candy shows up, noses her way into Lincoln's life, and everything changes.
I really like Van Draanen. I think I would be willing to read about anything she wrote. Lincoln is one of the nicest kids in recent literature. He isn't perfect, or goody goody, but he is just a nice boy who is making his way through a rough situation. Van Draanen's descriptions of the residents of the home is sometimes humorous, but always sympathetic. Interestingly, she often parallel's the resident's behavior with the behavior of the kids at Lincoln's school. This is a great read, and I wish it had received more national attention. 261 p.(maybe the cover is partially to blame.)