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Rocky Road

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  321 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Ice cream warms the heart, no matter what the weather.
That's the Dobson family motto. Whenever things get tough, they break out the special heart-shaped bowls and make sundaes. The road has been especially rocky lately for Tess and her deaf little brother, Jordan. Their plucky Texan mother talks big, but her get-rich-quick business schemes have only landed them in serious
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Yearling (first published January 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,048)
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Sewing, crocheting, crafty Tess Dobson has the weight of the world on her twelve-year-old shoulders as she finds herself, her deaf eight-year-old brother, and her mother, living in an assisted living facility in Schenectady, New York, once her virtually penniless mother moves them there from San Antonio, Texas in the middle of winter. Unfortunately, she’s more adult than her mother, Delilah, who suffers from Shooting Stars (undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder). Delilah refuses to take the time to prope ...more
I used this book for a middle school book-club and the boys and girls really enjoyed it. The main character struggles to keep everything together as her mom puts together a new ice cream shoppe ( one of her many schemes). The characters are lively and the story has a few cute surprises, as we see the protagonist overcome obstacles and help her mother come into her own as well. It was a great story on mental disorders and dealing with family issues for the middle school age.
Not a bad book about having a bipolar parent. This book may be responsible for weight gain, as you may have to run out and buy ice cream due to cravings that the book will instill in you.
Amy Holiday
Read this one because the author was at the Collingswood Book Festival a few years ago; a friend picked it up and passed it on. Interesting, unique story about overcoming doubts to stay true to yourself and your family. I admired Tess's dedication to her little brother, and the way she made new friends. I also loved her elderly friends and how they both came to rely on each other.

The only reason I'd knock off one star is because of the voice. Tess thought and spoke more like an ambitious college
I don't know what I expected when I picked up this book, but I didn't expect it to be about a twelve year old. I think that the author got the age completely wrong, because no twelve year old acts the way that this girl did. It was a really good story, but I felt like it almost came off a little cheap because of the narrator. Don't worry though, I would still suggest it, just maybe to a younger crowd. Another positive note? I will be trying the recipes in the back, no lie.
Hiba Ahmed
Really nice, very catchy, SWBST -

Young Tess Dobson has a mom who can't afford enough money to make a living, a dad who abandoned them and a brother who's deaf. Tess has always wanted to stay at a place and call it home without being in debt, and have her mom get a job without being fired. However, Tess knows that that will not happen anytime soon. Tess's mom has something she calls 'shooting stars'. One day, Tess's mom will go crazy with Ideas, spending lots of money etc. but after a few days o
Already finished it on the 30th of April. So yeah.......... Was a great book:) Was very weird though. lol:)
Sweet story about a strong and independent girl learning about life's difficultys.
I am a real fan of middle-grade girl protagonists like Tess - she demonstrates to young readers just how it's possible for a fictional character to be absolutely true-to-life, if written well. Tess is an absolutely real combination of grit & fear, at turns handling the tough situations her life throws her with grace & strength, at other times feeling like she just can't hold it together any more. Tess has spent the last few years holding her family - herself, her somewhat wild deaf young ...more
Tess Dobson has been uprooted from her life in San Antonio and moved across the country to snowy Schenectady. Her mom has a wild idea about opening an ice cream shop there. So she packed up the car and moved Tess and her brother Jordan, who is deaf, to New York. Tess finds herself living in an assisted living facility surrounded by old people. She is worried that her mom's scheme will not pan out and they will be broke and homeless. Her mom suffers from "Shooting Stars" (bipolar disorder) but re ...more
Delilah Dobson: plucky Southern mom of Tess and Jordan, prone to severe mood swings referred to as "shooting stars",loves get-rich-quick schemes.
Tess Dobson: 12 year-old fashionista extraordinaire, member of peer mediation club, resourceful.
Jordan Dobson: Tess' 8 year-old brother, reptile lover, deaf.
Combine these characters and you get a dynamic story of the Dobson family moving cross-country to start an ice cream shop in Schenectady, New York. Responsible Tess is anything but excited though as
Cindy Hudson
Who moves to Schenectady, New York with plans to open an ice cream shop in the middle of winter? That’s what twelve-year-old Tess is wondering as she’s on the way there from San Antonio, Texas. Tess and her little brother Jordan, who is deaf, have seen a lot of their mother’s pie-in-the-sky plans crash and burn, along with most of the family’s savings. So she’s sure this new venture will be a disaster, especially since her mother tends to have bouts of boundless energy followed by times when she ...more
This was a sweet one (pun intended). If you enjoyed Joan Bauer's "Close to Famous", definitely check this one out too.

Tess Dobson moves with her mom and brother to the town of Schenectady, NY. Her mom dreams of opening an ice cream shop in their new town, but Tess isn't thrilled with the idea. Tess is used to her mother coming up grand ideas, but never following through, especially when her mother's condition that Tess calls "Shooting Stars" enters the picture. (Adults reading this will guess pr
Recommended Age:

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Overall Review:
Although I've never moved across the country in the middle of the winter to open an ice cream shop, I was immediately intrigued by Tess's story and her unique, fiery family. I enjoyed Tess's growth throughout the novel, and particularly loved all the interesting details about setting up and opening her mother's ice cream store. Perhaps my favorite part of the story, though, were the wonderful characters Tess and her family come to know
This book was touching and heart-swelling about 12-yr-old Tess Dobson. Her parents divorced five years ago, and her seven-going-on-eight year old brother, Jordan, is deaf.
While they move to a little town in New York, Tess is unhappy and conserved. She can't tell her mother what she thinks (aka, how her mother, Delilah Dobson, cannot understand Jordan, moved them away from Texas without a single warning, and how her mother's problems are getting worse and worse). Tess' mother has "Shooting Stars
This book is about a girl and her family who move from San Antonio, Texas to Schenectady, New York when her mother gets an idea to open up an ice cream shop. Her mother has lots of ideas but she's bipolar and cannot follow through on anything. The main character Tess has to take care of everything (including her deaf little brother) and save her mother's business. In the beginning of the book, Tess is very negative because she had been disappointed by her mother many times. But throughout the st ...more
What's the next best thing to eating ice cream? Reading about it, of course! Especially when it's 100 degrees outside...

Tess Dobson's mother is driving her crazy. On a whim, Delilah Dobson is moving her two kids, Tess and Jordan, to Schenectady, New York to open an ice cream shop. In the middle of winter. Having been subject to the consequences of her mother's whims before, Tess is not very supportive of the move and the business venture. The Dobson family has suffered through evictions and mult
Sandra Stiles
I was able to identify with Tess so much. I have a sister and niece both with bi-polar disorder. For a short time my sister and her children lived with me. One minute my sister would be fine and the next she wasn't. The roller coaster ride was horrible. I felt so sorry for Tess and Jordan as they were drug along on their mother's ride. This book showed there was hope out there. So often these kinds of stories make you feel like all is lost. When Tess's mom decides to move them to New York from T ...more
Stefanie Kipp
Best book ever

This book at the beginning was good but after you read a chapter or two you are hooked and you have to find out what's next and the recipes at the end of the book really make the book even better
Tess Dobson and her deaf little brother have been having a rough lately. Their mother always talks big to make money plans but they never work out. She also has days were she is happy one moment and then sad for days; Tess calls these the Shooting Stars. When their mom abruptly moves then from Texas all the way to snowy New York to start an ice cream business, Tess knows this plan will fail. It is hard enough to fit in but her mom keeps talking about their new plan. Tess tries to make her mom be ...more
Karen Arendt
I loved this book. I was a little concerned about the bipolar disorder, but I stand by and will suggest this book. Tess's mother suffers from bipolar but that term is not used until about 2/3 of the way through the book. Tess calls it "shooting stars". Her mom moves her and her deaf brother to Schenectady from Texas with this idea of opening an ice cream shop. Tess struggles with starting at a new school, making new friends, and managing her mother's mood swings. They move into a senior living c ...more
What a heartwarming story of a young girl who must grow up fast due to her family responsibilities. The characters are wonderful. I highly recommend this book as well as the author's other book.
Another mother/daughter book group book. Great story of a teen girl who has to deal with her mother who is bipolar and help take care of her deaf brother. We tend to be reading books about teens who have significant challenges, which I think is good for these girls who currently live in a bubble of comfort and haven't experienced much difficulty in their life!
Picked up an extra ARC after it was published at a conference. Was looking in my TBR stack for a "lighter read" between all of the stories I've been reading about cancer and life in war torn countries. Was not prepared for this book to have main characters with Bipolar disorder, absent father and brother who is deaf, told from the viewpoint of the 12 year old daughter, I am really enjoying this book so far. I am loving the quirky town characters, especially Chief, Winnie, Pete and Gabby. A wonde ...more
Kat Mc
LOVED THIS BOOK! I think I'm heavily influenced since I lived across the bridge from Schenectady growing up as a kid, and have fond memories of banana soft serve ice cream and burgers at Jumpin' Jacks. I also fondly recall going to Open Door Bookstore in high school when my friend's sister could finally cart us around, and feeling so sophisticated and cool. But I guess I'm most heavily influenced to love this book by the fact that my family, via my mother, solves life's problems with ice cream. ...more
Allie D
It was good, the beginning is a little rough but its really good at the end. Its about, Tess and her death little brother are moved to snowy Scentady, New York by their plump Texas mother. But when all else fails, their mom opens up her dream job... a ice cream shop. Now Tess needs to be excited about this new plan but where is her mom going to get ice cream? Who's going to buy ice cream on their run down street? Now Tess needs to be excited, so wish her luck!
Jodi Papazian
Oh jeez. This story was ridiculous. I can't really think of anything that I liked about it. The constant southern expressions nearly made me toss the book across the room in annoyance. The mother needed to be institutionalized immediately and she had zero redeeming qualities.

I don't even want to waste any more time on a review of this book. Horrid.
Harper Fiske
What a sweet book! (and not just because of the ice cream) Tess has to put up with a lot in her 12-year old life. Her brother is deaf and her mom is bipolar with tons of bright ideas that crash right along with her. I loved learning more about sign language and the ice cream business, not to mention all the adorable characters.
I really liked the local details about this book -- which the majority of kids won't care about. It was a good story with a good message about a girl who is independent and trying to make the best of a bad situation. However, pretty unrealistic, I think the character should have been at least 14 or 15 instead of 12.
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