“Author Mark Twain wrote about a group of youngsters growing up in a small town along the Mississippi River when he developed the literary classic, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Fred Hosley has followed in Twain’s manner with a story about seventh graders in Clearwater in 1957. The way Clearwater was then is as much a part of the plot as the characters, which he based upon his personal experiences growing up in Clearwater during that era. Most names are fabricated, but some are not, such as Mr. Brown at Brown Brothers, and an English teacher names Ms. Vernotzy. Hosley lived this adventure, yet some of it has been reconstructed, if only due to what the memory does after so many years. His attention to detail gives this book an authentication that transplants the reader into the time period with a sense of reality. We often stopped reading this book to reflect on our own personal memories that were triggered by his writing.

Like Twain, Hosley manages to incorporate humor and social commentary into the time period and the individuals involved in the storytelling. We assume a portion of this novel is autobiographical because we know Fred on a personal level and can recognize traits of the author within the book’s leading character.

This is the author’s first novel, despite the fact that he is in his mid-70s. It is because of the long productive life that he has lived that he can reflect back upon the past with such wisdom, understanding and compassion. He has ventured back into his youth, when life was different and simpler. His discovery of how fortunate he was to have these experiences should help to remind everyone that life is filled with both challenges and opportunities. What we do with them determines both who we are and who we will be.

Fred is planning on releasing his next book in the near future. Much of it was already written for this novel, but was deleted during the editing process. His writing has a universal theme that illustrates that as much as things change they remain the same. The angst of being a pre-teen will never go away, even though the world continues to change daily.”

TAMPA BAY MAGAZINE REVIEW … Margaret Word Burnside and Aaron R. Fodiman