Reviews for Last Newspaper Boy in America

Booklist Reviews 2009 August #1
When the county newspaper announces that it will be discontinuing home delivery to tiny Steele, Pennsylvania, 12-year-old Wil David is devastated. And why not? He's just about to inherit his older brother's paper route, a route that has been passed down from David brother to David brother for decades. Will Wil be the last David to deliver? Not if he has anything to say about it, and they don't call him Wil of Steele for nothing. In the meantime the great Cooper County Fair arrives and with it a new draw: a disc-throwing game with a grand prize of a thousand dollars! But is the game fixed? Never fear, as the ever-determined Wil is on that case, too. Corbett, a reporter herself, has written an engaging--if not always entirely plausible--story rooted in the sad realities of today's declining newspaper business and its inevitable impact on the sense of community that has enriched small-town America. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
In this contemporary-set but old-fashioned celebration of print media, young Wil has been training to take over the local newspaper bike route ridden by his brothers, father, and grandfather before him. After learning that The Cooper County Caller will no longer be delivered, Wil galvanizes his small Pennsylvania town to action. Rife with nostalgia, the plot is helped along by memorable characters. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 September #1
Corbett stirs current events into an old-fashioned boy-makes-good tale with mixed results. Wilson Glenn David V, now 12, assumes his tiny town's newspaper route, a family tradition begun by his grandfather. Wil, a precocious homeschooler, intends saving his earnings for a laptop, but when The Cooper County Caller announces that it's cutting costs by eliminating home delivery for the town, the boy rises to a higher purpose. The overfull plot blends the five-day stint of a traveling fair (complete with a high-stakes, crooked game of chance that Wil's determined to expose) with his fight to galvanize public protest over The Caller's decision. Narrative tension wobbles under a load of issues: the town's poor economy, the Davids' rocky finances since the closure of the hairpin factory and the cable-less community's tenuous access to information. Corbett overworks Wil's futile attempt to acquire a recent newspaper story about events at the shady carnival's prior stop, and one wonders why an ailing town endures its founding family's lock on the sole newspaper route. A tidy resolution comes hastily together as "Wil of Steele" proves his mettle. (author's note) (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 July #4

Corbett (Free Baseball), a journalist and PW contributor, writes an energetic story of a boy whose passion saves the spirit of his small town of Steele, Pa. Twelve-year-old Wil cannot wait to take over his brother Sonny's paper route, a job that has been in his family for decades. So when the publishers of the Cooper County Caller decide to cut costs by eliminating delivery to Steele, Wil takes action ("He has a tendency to argue his point until the other person collapses from fatigue," his mother remarks). But Wil discovers that he has more to contend with than losing his job when the town clairvoyant gives him some ominous advice--"You must watch carefully." His suspicion mounts when the Cooper County Fair opens and no one is able to win the large cash prize in the Cover the Spot game. In addition to trying to save his route, Wil assigns himself the task of solving that mystery ("Steele Boy Opens Investigation," reads one of the headline-style chapter openers), bringing his community together in the process. Corbett's graceful dialogue, lovingly drawn characters and clever plot form a timely and refreshing tale. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 October

Gr 4-7--The David family has delivered the Cooper County Caller to residents of Steele, PA, for as long as anyone can remember. Wil's 12th birthday signals that he will take over for his older brother, and he's been practicing his tosses from his bike. When the circulation manager phones the day before his start date to inform him that the Caller has decided to discontinue home delivery, Wil is devastated. The more he thinks about it, the madder he gets: folks in his rural community rely on that paper for important news and employment opportunities. Many are jobless since the factory shut down, and TV reception is iffy with no cable service. Putting his stubborn streak to good use, Wil goes up against the big corporation that bought the paper. Chapter titles resembling newspaper headlines foreshadow what is to come. Like the author's Free Baseball (2006) and 12 Again (2002, both Dutton), this novel has a likable protagonist, engaging secondary characters, realistic dialogue, and a fast-moving plot that both seasoned and reluctant readers will enjoy. While Michael Winerip's "Adam Canfield" titles (Candlewick) focus on the inside workings of newspaper production, Corbett offers a timely look at how increased dependence on electronic news sources is impacting small newspapers and their audiences. Youngsters who have grown up surrounded by cable television and online news will have much to ponder after they have turned the final pages of this thought-provoking story.--Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

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