Bluefish is the fourth book by Wisconsin author Pat Schmatz (rhymes with jots, not cats) who was born in Amherst, WI.
This book is an introduction to two main characters. Travis is new at the middle school. Velveeta, confident and individualistic, attends the same middle school. Inherently, both of them are lonely. Travis is a lover of the outdoors whereas Velveeta has a penchant for colorful scarves.
Travis is suffering from the loss of his dog and Velveeta is sad about the death of a good friend. This is one of many parallels they share. However, Travis has a deep-seated secret that is thwarting his ability to succeed.
A special teacher and a special librarian help Travis and Velveeta out. Other adults are described, flaws and all, which make for a realistic portrait of life. The dialogue in this book resonates, too.
The symbol of bluefish begins as derogatory and evolves into a triumphant emblem of empowerment!
This enjoyable and uplifting read leaves the reader grateful for friendship and hopeful. During the course of the novel, a gamut of feelings is tapped which is a satisfying growth experience. An appreciation for literacy is also achieved with this story.
Praise goes to Pat for her sensitive writing style. Her ability to express the middle school mindset, in particular, and humanity, in general, is to be lauded.