About this Book
Pool Boy
Pool Boy
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Pool Boy

Written by Michael SimmonsAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Michael Simmons

· Delacorte Books for Young Readers
· Trade Paperback · May 10, 2005 · $7.99 · 978-0-385-73196-6 (0-385-73196-5)
Also available as an unabridged audiobook download.

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Readers Guide

1. Brett’s friend Frank doesn’t seem to understand that Brett can’t spend money the way he used to. Have you ever had a friend or classmate who was clueless about your personal circumstances (like your financial situation or your family’s rules, for example)? Can you think of a situation in which you might have been insensitive to someone else?

2. You let your guard down, and they nail you. I wasn’t getting nailed. No way (p. 101).
How does Brett keep his guard up throughout the story? Is there a point at which he lets it down?

3. You’re looking for a solution. We’re human beings, after all.
We’re problem solvers
(p. 143).
With these words, Brett describes his initial reaction to Alfie’s death. Do you agree that a human being’s first reaction to a problem is to try somehow to solve it? Can you describe your feelings at a time when you had to confront a problem that couldn’t be solved?

4. How does Alfie’s death change Brett’s perspective on his own life? Has anyone close to you died? Beyond the sadness at the time, did this death permanently affect the way you think about your life?

5. What does Brett mean by "a kind of love that doesn’t really come with a list" (p. 162)? Are there people in your life whom you love but don’t really like?

6. Mostly I’d respond by saying, "Mom, you’re like boring me out of my mind" (p. 44).
Brett is very blunt. How would you compare yourself to him in the way you talk with your family? Do you wish you could change the way you and your family communicate? What would be your ideal?

7. How do Brett and his sister differ in the way they react to their father’s imprisonment? How do they deal differently with anger (see p. 89)? How do you think you would respond in Brett’s situation?

8. Why does Brett decide to visit his father after Alfie dies?
Have you ever changed your relationship with a person because of an event that had nothing to do with that person?

9. Why is working with Alfie so much better than working at Fast Burger? In your opinion, what makes a job a good one?

10. Have you ever had a friend who wasn’t in your age group, as with Alfie and Brett? How was your friend’s perspective or way of life different from yours? What could you learn from each other?