A Young Man and the Subway
Hisato, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, loves to ride the subway more than anything. On the subway, he can run away for hours, knowing his mother will always catch up. In the roar and rattle of those mighty trains, he feels safe. But one day, an electrical outage turns Penn Station into chaos. Flustered, Hisato breaks away from his mother, bolts through the milling crowds, jumps on a train, and races away, thrilled by the familiar feeling of being chased and getting away. But when he finds his mother could not keep up, that he has in fact lost her, he sets out on a frenzied journey to find her that he – and his mother – will never forget.
Isa in Cyberspace
Isa’s life changes when he moves from a tiny apartment in New York City to the biggest house he has ever seen in Pittsburgh with his brother and his Mom and his Dad. It even has space in the driveway for a basketball hoop, so Isa can practice to become a basketball star. But Isa’s new home holds strange dangers, too, dangers Isa faces with courage and smarts that surprise even him.
Rodge McCullough returns home to finish his Ph.D., gets his degree three years later, and settles in to take a well-earned breather. Reed and Gertrude don’t dare interfere as their son pursues his lofty scholar-athlete life at their expense; he is, after all, only engaging in activities they’ve always encouraged. But after eight years, the activities don’t seem so lofty. In fact, they suspect Rodge has become a slouch and a slob. When they discover he is also a thief, they coordinate strategies to dislodge him. But Rodge is resolute: He won’t listen, he won’t change, and he won’t go.
Hiro’s Travel Book
Hiro lives in New York City and is a splendid traveler. He has been to Japan many times to visit his grandfather. That’s on the other side of the world. He has seen just everything in Tokyo and almost all of everything in New York City. But he’s never seen all the oceans and rivers and valleys and forests in between. When he travels, all he sees is the inside of the plane. This travel book shows him a secret way to travel throughout the whole world on his own two sturdy legs so he can see just everything.
Woman of the Baths
Pittsburgh, Autumn 1945. To humiliate his powerful father for supporting the war, Ogden has a Tokyo fire bombing victim shipped to him under the pretence that she is the bride of Captain Richard Virostik. Wagner Fike has no recourse but to care for the mutilated woman, developing a deep attachment to her in the process. But nothing he tries can get the woman to speak, in any language. Only when Captain Virostik unexpectedly shows up does Fike learn the magnitude of her suffering, which Yukiko herself is unable to express.
After a long series of professional failures, Louise Christy’s life is finally on track with the sudden success of her newly established business, a very special perfume shop. But within weeks, her triumph is spoiled by her brother, who relates that her spectacular turnover is due an ugly glitch: her favorite shop clerk, the extraordinary Toko, is exhibiting herself in the windows mornings when she has the shop to herself. Unable to believe the outrageous news and incapable of spying on her favorite girl to debunk or verify the charge, Louise hires homely, slow-moving Jane, not to be shop manager as her ad indicates, but scarecrow. Posted in the shop mornings, Jane is to ward off illicit conduct that would damage Ms Christy’s reputation. For her part, Jane is determined to do everything she can to establish credibility with her new boss and secure her cushy, do-nothing job in the glamorous world of retail cosmetics. The circumstances spell near disaster for the well-meaning proprietress.
Fit to Print
Freedom of the press is threatened in Warbler, Oklahoma, the day Rudy Serling takes over the modest town newspaper. As he’s going to press with his first edition, he finds a rogue paper in racks all over town. It’s the shopper, which was quietly transformed into a brassy rival while Rudy was busy acquiring the established paper. When Rudy attempts to sue, his lawyer informs him he has no legal way out except to compete. “I’ll beat that bastard and run him out,” Rudy confides to his brother. “Even though I hate this town, I’ll teach them what journalism is. It’ll have to be so obvious he’s just publishing trash.” His brother raises the critical question: “And if they want trash?”
The competition puts Rudy at his worst, with the people in the strange new town suddenly all-important voters he must woo despite his disgust with them and his lot. And, yes, they do seem to want trash. Until the competition turns ugly, and Warbler citizens are confronted with the dire consequences of preferring a flattering gossip sheet over straight-up news.