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Over and Under

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  150 ratings  ·  52 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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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...more
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...more
“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...more
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...more
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
Mar 28, 2011 Keri rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Hope Baugh
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
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
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
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
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
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
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Good story; interesting characters. I like the setting (southern Indiana)...a bit derivative, but good.
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...more
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
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
Charlene Olson odu
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.
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!
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!
Aug 24, 2009 Karlan rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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.
A thoroughly American coming of age story about two boys growing up in small town southern Indiana. An angry strike at the local coffin factory brings to light the separations of class and politics that threaten to tear the town and the boys' friendship apart. I read this in one day and could not put it down. Great atmosphere, great plot, and a thoughtful and wise narrator.
A Union strike in a small Indiana town changes the summer for a couple of boys on both sides of the line. The story in this book is strange. There are a lot of non-issues that keep coming up. I kept expecting events to have more of an impact on the characters or direction of the story. It wasn't a bad book by any means, but in the end, I didn't feel very satisfied.
Mariya Kuyan
this book kind of sucked. like the story was cute, but it was terribly written. there was absolutely no suspense and it was a bit unrealistic. i picked the book up because it said "reminiscent to Stand By Me and To Kill A Mockingbird" and it was not. this book doens't even compare! (also, the inside cover said the story was about 12 year olds, but they were actually 14 lol)
Nov 16, 2008 Nadine rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
An adventure/coming of age story that takes place in an Indiana factory town in 1979. Took awhile to get into, but there was a good storyline. Noticed after reading that it received the Alex Award. Makes me feel a little better about the level of writing, that it's a book teens could enjoy, but that it wasn't actually written for teens.
I started reading this while in Southern Indiana, and I found it very interesting that the story takes place right around the area I was in! I liked reading about all the adventures and troubles of the two 13 yr. old buddies, and I was glad that the last chapter tracked them through to adulthood. A good read for sure!
I couldn't put this one down as I had to find out what happened to the boys, their search for the outlaws, and if justice would prevail on many fronts. From the adventures in the caves to the portrayal of a deep-in-your-bones-best-friends-forever relationship, I found the voice to be authentic and refreshing.
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