Adam Shannon Dakota Carr is having one heck of a year.
First, his dad loses his job, forcing his family to move in with his grandpa. Then he learns he’s switching schools because of zoning regulations. But then his parents start to argue, and honestly… it feels like the world is ending.
But Adam is no quitter. He may have been raised by parents bent on saving the planet one cell phone-free, Jeopardy-watching, classics-reading child at a time, but he is absolutely not a quitter.
He may be just 12 years old, but he’s going to save the world—starting with his family.
This was a unique read for me! I’m 12 Years Old (which is what I’m shortening the title to, because dang, that’s a mouthful) is a children’s book. Not a middle grades, not YA, a children’s book. It’s outside my typical genre range, but hey, diversity is always good! My husband met DK Brantley at a convention in a town adjacent to ours about a year ago now, and Brantley was kind enough to gift us a copy of all the books he had on hand. Not only did I feel a little obligated to help a fellow author out, I also was so glad to know someone nearby (although still pretty far) that also writes.
So let’s get down to business! (And not to defeat the Huns.)
I have to review this book as what it is—for children. This book was never really written for me, but it was clearly enjoyed by me, haha. The style is succinct, in that way that books for children have to be. There’s an unspoken depth to the story-line. The descriptions that were there were just deep enough that I was able to picture both Adam and his neighborhood with no trouble at all.
As far as characterization goes, I think Adam is perfectly done. He’s like a little old man inside a child’s body, and that may have been why I loved him. Although this is something that I think might fall through a bit. Some of the references Adam made might go over a twelve-year-old’s head—unless they attended a real fancy school and read a lot of classic literature. But this book’s going to my 5th grade classroom library. My kids won’t know who Dostoevsky or Vonnegut are, and I’ll be lucky if they’ve heard of the movie Ender’s Game.
Now, I might add, the obscure, high-minded references don’t take away from the story. If anything, they really build the character up. My students won’t care; they’ll think the book is funny, anyway.
The last thing I really want to talk about is the serious subject matter I’m 12 Years Old tackles. Beneath the guise of a cute story about a child adjusting to a new school, you really have the age-old struggle of a child trying to keep his parents together. Adam has to witness the marital strain that comes with money problems, and it takes a toll on him. I liked how the author didn’t shy away from the fighting or the nights Dad spent on the couch or the tear-streaked face of Mom. We really get to see all of this in its realistic glory.
That being said, I think we could have had a little bit more. A little more… depth on Adam’s end. This may sound insensitive, but I really wanted to know how Adam felt. Sometimes, his response was emotionless. While he faced it with a smile on his face and all the determination in the world, he never really showed how gut-wrenching it felt to watch his parents drift apart. As a child of divorce, I know how bad it hurts. And I kind of wanted to see Adam deal with the pain.
Overall, an excellent book for children to laugh and tackle big issues at the same time. Parents will enjoy it due to the “old man” references Adam tends to make. Solid 4 star read! I’ll be reading and reviewing the sequel for sure.
Overall Rating: 4 / 5
Pacing: A very quick read for me.
Intended Audience: Children, primarily. Early MG. Adults will enjoy, too.
Content Warnings: None.
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011A9B6AC