Fifteen Luther Farrell wants a lot of things: to win the state wide science fair, to ask out Shayla Patrick, the secret love of his life, to save up enough money that he can someday blow out of the depressed factory town of Flint, Michigan and never look back. There’s only one thing standing in the way of all these dreams. Luther’s tight-fisted, tough-talking mother, the Sarge. The Sarge needs Luther too much to let him waste his time with a girlfriend or leave her after graduation. Otherwise, who will help her run her evil empire of illegal housing projects and shady half way houses? But when Luther learns that the Sarge never intended to give him the money she claimed to be saving for his college education, he hatches an ingenious plan to hit her where it will hurt her most–in the wallet. At turns funny and achingly sad, this is Christopher Paul Curtis’s most edgy novel to date. Taking a risk with both audience and fan base, the author dared to take the image of the self-sacrificing single African American mother and literally turn it on its head, with great success. Fans of former CPC novels be warned, this is no Watsons Go to Birmingham. So don’t go reading it aloud to your little brother or sister!