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Over and Under

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  238 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
In the summer of 1979, Andy and Tom are two fourteen-year-old boys---best friends, expert cave explorers, and crack shots with their Springfield M-6 Scout rifles. In rural southern Indiana they are blissfully unaware of the local labor strife surrounding the Borden Casket Company. The fact that Andy’s dad is a manager and Tom’s dad is a union laborer has no bearing on thei ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 8th 2008 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Jul 02, 2012 Melki rated it really liked it
I was eight years old when Mack Sanders lost a nut in the mill room of the Borden Casket Company.

Yep. That's the first line of the book, and just the first of many cringe-worthy moments in this tale of two young Indiana boys who do a lot of growing up during the summer of 1979. These kids do loads of things that made me squirm and wince. They slither through storm drains, squeeze into tiny crevices in caves, tangle with fat, drunken rednecks, and have close encounters with copperheads.
Eh, boys
“There comes a time in every boy’s life where his capacity for getting into trouble suddenly exceeds his ability to get out of it.”

This coming-of-age story, somewhat akin to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, except with an edgier bite, was an enthralling fast read. And with references to Pink Floyd, Authors Card game, Fantasy Island, desegregation, Peter Frampton, and bell bottom jeans, it brought 1979 atmospherically alive – but with a deadly storm brewing. In which, “Over and Under” centers around a
Oct 16, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: male-friendship
Andrew Jackson Gray tells of his growing up in the 1970s in small town Borden, Indiana, of his friendship with Thomas Jefferson Kruer, and of the strike at the Borden Casket Company that occurred the year during the boys' thirteenth year.

Twelve year old Andy and Tom are best friends, they spend all their spare time together playing, fishing and generally being adventurous and mischievous in woods that surround Borden. One of the highlights of their year is the gift they each receive of a Springf
Apr 17, 2009 Cornmaven rated it liked it
Shelves: hs-adult
I really liked this book - two 8th grade boys in southern Indiana experiencing a labor strike at the local casket company, and in true Shakespearean fashion, one kid's dad is management and the other's is union.

The two boys are typical 70s boys in a rural area - fending for themselves most of the time and embarking on lots of adventures at all times of the day. One kid is particularly reckless, and instigates the middle of the night goofing off stunts. They do a lot of caving, getting stuck in t
Kathryn Balduf
Feb 19, 2017 Kathryn Balduf rated it it was ok
Not a bad story, but clumsily written.
Fourteen year old best friends Andy and Tom have known each other all of their lives growing up in the small town of Borden, Indiana. It is the 1970's and the two boys roam the countryside exploring woods and caves and always carrying their beloved Springfield M6 Scout rifles, known as an "over and under". Their fathers work at the local casket company, Andy's father in management and Tom's dad in the plant itself. The union workers have gone on strike causing widespread discord in Borden but ma ...more
Mar 26, 2012 jimtown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
As I started reading this and until about halfway through, I thought it was better suited to a young boy to read, and it would be ideal reading for young boys. Toward the last part of the book I was getting more anxious to find out what was going to happen and that kept the pages turning.

“There comes a time in every boy’s life where his capacity for getting into trouble suddenly exceeds his ability to get out of it.”

In Over and Under we follow Andy and his best friend Tom as they wander off on
Dec 16, 2016 Peter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: coming-of-age, 2016
This is a fun book. It is set in the late seventies, an era in which I was in college, so I remember the moods of the time. The story is entertaining and the characters fit quite neatly into categories of "I like that one," or "I don't like that one," and are deep enough to be believable. It is the story of two boys growing up together and dealing with life's events as they come of age, together and as individuals. The prose is very pleasant and easy to read.
Over and Under took a bit for me to get into but hit its stride about a quarter of a way into the book. The book takes place in rural Indiana in the summer of 1979 and focuses on two best friends, Andy and Tom. During this summer the boys' fathers are on opposing sides of a labor dispute at their employer, Borden Casket Company. Andy's father is in management and continues to work through the strike while Tom's father is in manufacturing and is on the picket line. Although their father's have di ...more
Sep 01, 2008 Kevin rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
1979. Two boys in an isolated Indiana factory town spend their last summer before high school and two divergent futures learning about class and conflict among grown men. Todd Tucker is at his best when his protagonists absorb a new piece of information that advances their understanding of complex adult relationships. Unfortunately, in Over and Under he also gives short shrift to some steps of the plot, rushing through them so he can move his actors to the next set piece. Sometimes this requires ...more
Dec 09, 2009 Sean rated it really liked it
Two best friends, both fourteen years old, enjoy running through the woods and exploring local caves, and shooting their Scout rifles. Andy's father is the manager of Borden Casket Company and Tom's father is a union worker on strike yet they continue their strong friendship even as they learn the differences in their families respective roles in the strike.

One night when Tom and Andy sneak out of their houses to eavesdrop on the strikers, they witness a bomb explosion that murders the company's
Aug 18, 2010 Keri rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I LOVED this book! Author Todd Tucker writes a wonderful story about the coming-of-age friendship of two teenaged-boys. He tells this story with such imagery and in such a poetic style that he easily pulls the reader in as a witness to this story.
Set in the late 1970s, we are introduced to several families that reside in a small, rural town in Indiana. Narrated from the point-of-view of Andy Gray, he details the friendship between him and Tom Kruer over the course of one summer that turns two b
Aug 16, 2008 Betsy rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this coming-of-age story about two 14 yr old boys, who, although inseparable in their outdoor adventures, find their belief systems challenged when a strike cripples their small town. Andy's dad is a manager at the Borden Casket Company while Tom's dad is a union member. When the factory is blown up and the plant manager is killed, the mood of the town becomes extremely tense. As the summer progresses and Andy & Tom's nocturnal adventures continue, secrets are piling up ...more
Hope Baugh
Feb 10, 2009 Hope Baugh rated it it was amazing
I loved this historical novel set in 1979 for its realistic yet affectionate depiction of southern Indiana, for its enjoyable and even funny depiction of boyhood friendships that last forever, and for its bittersweet depiction of first loves. I am not much of a fan of shooting as a hobby, but I loved that the two boys in this book both receive rifles for Christmas after successfully completing several weeks of a gun safety course in which they impress the pants off their city slicker classmates ...more
Lydia Presley
Nov 02, 2009 Lydia Presley rated it it was ok
Over and Under was well written, it flowed well, the characters were realistic, the problem I had with this book was that.. well.. it was just boring. Tucker tried to spice it up with a bit of a mystery, but the fact remains that this is, ultimately, a book about boys being boys, a union strike and all of the crimes associated with it, and a mingling of the politics from the early 70's. Interesting stuff in its own right (I mean, the first I knew of a strike was from watching Newsies as a kid an ...more
Aug 17, 2015 DT rated it it was amazing
Can't say I'm big on five-star reviews, but here's the first of three on books I read this month. This was just a great story about the summer of two boys on the verge of high school in 1979 small-town southern Indiana. There's a factory strike, and one boy's dad is ownership, and the other's is not. That story basically provides the narrative thread, but the book excels at describing the small moments that make teenage summers so impactful and memorable. Somebody just accused me of being a suck ...more
Kaela Dominguez
This book was really interesting and suspenseful which was not what i thought at first. Compared to other books that i have read, it could've been better, but for the most part it was a lot better than i thought. Andy and Tom's friendship has really developed since their involvement in the solving of the murder has brought about some trouble between them as well as harships that they overcome throughout the book. It is different to see Tom and Andy develop into the young men they need to be beca ...more
Aug 06, 2010 Starlak rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 26, 2011 Tom rated it liked it
I picked up this book from a library sale because a friend encouraged me to read some regular novels with no "historical" label attached to them. It was very difficult to do and I found myself quite angry through the first couple of chapters as I just didn't care what happened to the characters. The writing was good, though, and I became engrossed in the characters. There wasn't a great deal of depth to it, and the end, like post-climax flew by very quickly - almost as if the author had a deadli ...more
Justin Illes
Sep 19, 2012 Justin Illes rated it really liked it
Shelves: quarter-1
This book is called Over and Under by Todd Tucker. This book makes you want to read more. When you put it down it is always leaving you hanging make you want to know what is next. The main characters are Andy and Tom they can shoot anything with an M-6 rifle that there dad taught them how to use. One day they saw a guy trespassing on there property so they shot him in the head directly in the skull. It turns out that the guy was the dad of the neighbors plantation. They compete a lot to see who ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Charli rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, award-winner
In 1979, two boys whose fathers both work for the Borden Casket Company, one in management, one not, try to find two men hiding in the woods during a bitterly contested strike.

That really doesn't cover it at all, but is a good capsule of the plot. What makes the story work is the writing and the characters. I enjoyed the two boys - Tom and Andy - immensely, and their adventures in the woods took me back to summers playing with my friends. Reminiscent of Stephen King's "The Body", the codes of f
Jan 21, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
I really liked this one. It could almost have 5 stars. Childhood buddies in rural southern IN are like a 1970s version of Huck & Finn as they fearlessly and often foolishly tackle adventures together. They watch as a strike at the main/only factory in town splits their community in two, including their fathers, and don't want their friendship to be. After some discoveries, they decide they can find a couple of local wanted criminals who must be hiding in the woods. They grew up too fast at t ...more
Mar 23, 2009 Jane rated it liked it
A not actually bad story of two friends riding out a summer in which their fathers are on opposite sides of a strike at the Borden Casket Company. Both fathers are reasonable, and the boys barely realize there is a line on either side of which they are supposed to station themselves: management vs. labor. Lots of "Tom and Huck" type adventure in caves and toting their guns through the woods, until 2 on the labor side accidentally kill 1 on the management side and head for the hills. The boys mak ...more
Feb 11, 2010 Jean rated it it was amazing
The opening scene of a young man "losing his nut" while using woodworking machinery at a casket company made it obvious that I can read ANYTHING! This is the story of two boys during the summer between middle school and high school in the 1970s. The town is having a labor dispute and a bomb goes off at the factory. Solving the mystery is almost as entertaining as the adventures the boys have in the Indiana countryside. I loved this book!
Aug 24, 2009 Karlan rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, ya
This novel certainly deserved to be an Alex award title. Two boys share adventures in a small town in 1979 the summer before beginning high school. During a strike at the coffin manufacturing firm, they learn that their fathers are on opposite sides of the picket line. The story of the strike and a search for two wanted men in the woods provide great background for a story of youthful friendship and loyalty.
Charlene Olson odu
Jul 15, 2011 Charlene Olson odu rated it liked it
This would be a good boo for teen boys to read. it follows the adventures of two friends during one summer in late 1970s. The main employer in the town is the coffin manufacturing plant, and the workers have gone on strike. Tom's dad is a member of the labor union while Andy's dad is part of the plant management. Throw in an explosion at the plant and some guns, and boys shhould be engrossed in the story. This write-up is brief because I read it for me even though it is an Alex book.
Jul 03, 2009 Gail rated it it was amazing
I have had very good luck selecting books from the American Library Association's Alex Awards list (adult books of interest to teens). As a teacher I found Over and Under an insightful look into the minds of the boys near the age of my students. How the two boys managed a friendship is spite of personal differences, family conflict, and tension in thier hometown due to a strike was also fascinating.
Feb 15, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
I felt this book was more about an idea/issue that was thinly fleshed out with a story. It was readable, though, and I liked the premise a lot. I liked the characters well enough, though they didn't feel real to me. I got a little tired of how unrealistic parts of the story were: the extreme danger these boys managed to get into and the fact that they always got out of it and didn't get caught.
Apr 23, 2012 Jana rated it really liked it
Our book club read this and it is the first full book I've read on my new "Nook" so it was memorable on many levels. I enjoyed the story. We all agreed that the critical comparison to To Kill a Mockingbird was over stated, but it is still a good read and it certainly got the men in our book club engaged in the discussion. We need more books about boys coming of age! We age "labor class" food for our potluck and it was so GOOD!
Nov 16, 2008 Nadine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those readers who like a literate, thougthful read.
This author captured the essence of that precious time between childhood and adolescence. The fact that he set the novel in 1979 helps show how some of that boundary has unfortunately blurred nowadays. This book was thought provoking, moving, and one I will remember for quite awhile.

I've added this author to my "list" and intend to read his future works.
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