Rob Horton, a 6th grader, hates school because he is bullied and has no friends. He and his father moved to a new town after his mom died of cancer, but his dad won’t let them bring up her name. They live in the Kentucky Star Hotel in Florida where his dad works. When Rob stumbles across a caged tiger hidden in the woods, he tells his one new friend, Sistine, who insists they set it free. Willie May, a 6-foot-tall cigarette-smoking “Yoda-type” character, is the hotel cleaning lady who helps Rob and Sistine to discover things about themselves. When the tiger “rises,” so do all their trapped emotions. This is an earlier novel by the author of the popular books Because of Winn-Dixie and Tale of Despereaux.
Reviewed by Jennifer