Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading–anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes.
Middle school student Garvey has problems. Bullies pick on him at school for being overweight. Even his big sister calls him names like “little piggy” and “Chocolate Chunk.” Garvey could deal with those things if he could just connect with his Dad, who really wants his son to be a great football or basketball player. Garvey’s biggest problem? He doesn’t like sports — and definitely doesn’t want to be a player, no matter what his father thinks.
Garvey loves rhythm & blues music. He listens to sad old songs like “Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross. He’s also into science, often staying up late to study the night sky or read science fiction books. That’s the kind of stuff his father dismisses as a waste of time. Garvey wonders whether his choices make him a little too different. He tries crash diets but they always fail. Things get worse when Joe’s school schedule is changed, and Garvey is left without a lunch buddy. It doesn’t take long for Garvey to realize that he has to make some serious changes of his own in order to survive middle school. Things begin to improve when he meets Manny, a boy with a rare disorder, in the lunchroom.
Garvey and Manny team up to sort out their individual challenges. With Manny’s encouragement, Garvey chooses to join the school chorus and gets a solo! Then he decides to try the healthy foods Manny brings to lunch and even goes jogging with Joe. In turn, he encourages Manny to go for his dreams too. Garvey’s choices seem to be turning out just right. But will they be enough for Garvey’s Dad to finally approve of his son? Find out when you read this engrossing story written in verse!