Jennifer Wardrip's Reviews > Dirt Road Home

Dirt Road Home by Watt Key
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Feb 15, 2010

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Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

Hal Mitchell finds himself back in a boys' home after having escaped the Pinson Home with two other boys. They headed for the woods and almost eluded the authorities in ALABAMA MOON. Now, Hal's lawyer tells him he'll only have to stay at Hellenweiler Boys' Home until a few things get straightened out - and until his dad proves he has given up alcohol and is capable of providing a decent home for Hal.

It turns out that Hellenweiler is much worse than Pinson. There are two gangs, the Hounds and the Ministers. Leaders from both groups insist that Hal needs to pledge allegiance to one or the other, but he is determined to remain neutral. His only goal is to stay clean, serve his time, and get out as soon as his lawyer gets everything straightened out for his release.

As the days pass, Hal discovers that it's not just the inmates that can make trouble for him. Those in charge of the boys' home are out to make life miserable for him, as well. He learns about faked paperwork, guards who look the other way when gang leaders want to use physical violence, and he personally experiences the pain of solitary confinement. It quickly becomes obvious that Hal will have to use cleverness and trickery to uncover the illegal activities going on behind closed doors.

Author Watt Key follows up his survival adventure, ALABAMA MOON, with this story about Hal Mitchell's determined efforts to return to life with his father. Key takes readers into the mind of a young man desperate to maintain control of his temper and emotions so he can satisfy the legal requirements that will allow him to rebuild his life.

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