Lord of the Deep by Graham Salisbury
This story is full of the action and the details of deep sea fishing. Mikey greatly admires his step-father, Bill. He is proud of the confidence and trust that he has earned with his hard work for Bill’s charter fishing boat business. When Bill offers to adopt Mikey, we feel the boy's happiness. He does not like their new charter customers though and Mikey’s peace of mind is crushed when Bill makes a decision in favor his family over ethics.
The end of the novel does not resolve smoothly but the more I have thought about it, the more it speaks to me. Young people view the world as very concrete, and it is difficult to come to terms with the hard choices adults must make. It is painful to understand the failings of people we love. What Mikey decides at the end of the story would make for a terrific discussion with young people who are just beginning to make personal decisions about their lives.
A fifth grade student told me recently that this book was his favorite Texas Bluebonnet book so far this year.