When Ratboy Lived Next Door (Hardcover)

By Chris Woodworth

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374346775, 192pp.

Publication Date: February 24, 2005



From the spring day in 1962 when Willis Merrill and his pet raccoon arrive in Maywood, Indiana, they are nothing but trouble for Lydia Carson. Lydia nicknames Willis "Ratboy" and wonders why he can't be more like his handsome older brother, Elliot. Life gets more complicated when Lydia alienates Elliot by insulting Willis and comes to a standoff with her mother. In her struggle to make amends with all, Lydia finds an ally in Willis and discovers the good in herself.

In her sharp, fresh voice, the author captures the flavor of a small town in Middle America and the hearts of its populace as she tells a powerful story about the resiliency - and flexibility -of family.

About the Author

Chris Woodworth is a first-time author. She lives in Indiana.

Praise For When Ratboy Lived Next Door

"Lydia's robust voice carries the book. The sympathetic, deftly drawn characters develop authentically. Fans of Creech and DiCamillo will want to give Woodworth a try." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"A compelling debut for Woodworth." -- Booklist

"Woodworth convincingly describes life in small town Indiana in 1962, the changing relationships between mother and adolescent daughter, and the complicated ways in which families survive and thrive, in this hopeful debut." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This excellent novel...should spark discussions about families, honesty, and what it means to be a good neighbor. An outstanding offering from a first-time author." -- School Library Journal