Worth by A. LaFaye
This book is nominated for RebeccaCaudill 2008 award. The story takes place during the late 19th century and depicts lives of two boys, a Nebraska farm boy and a New York orphan. Nathan, the farm boy, had an accident that left him unable to help his dad with the farm work. Subsequently, his father brings an orphan train traveler, John Worth, to help him.
Both boys are challenged to adjust to their new life. Nathan has lost his pride in working with his Pa, father's attention, and the chance of becoming a farmer. John grieves over his family that he lost in a fire, and is frustrated with the lack of opportunity to continue his education. Divided they quietly suffer alone. However, the battle between farmers and ranchers changes everything as Nathan and John try to save their community.
The author masterfully analyzes various feelings: father's guilt (for family's circumstances, his young daughter's death, and Nathan's accident); Nathan's jealousy toward John and his insecurity in the classroom; John's anger for loosing his family and being unable to continue his education.
Do the boys reconcile? How do they do it? Will John stay on the farm? To find answers to these questions and to enjoy a great book, read Worth. Who knows, it might be the winner.