· Trade Paperback · July 13, 2004 · $6.99 · 978-0-440-41884-9 (0-440-41884-4)
Also available as an eBook.
1. Ask the class to discuss what causes a person like Andy Simms to become a bully. Why is Mike Costa his special target? Why is Simms so upset that Mike follows him home? How does seeing Andy’s living situation help Mike to better understand him?
2. Mike has no problem coming face to face with Andy Simms. What gives him the courage to face the bully? Compare how Mike Costa deals with his bully to the way Bobby Ballenger deals with Chick Hall in Spider Boy.
3. Joseph, Mike’s friend, suggests that they recruit his older brothers and Mike’s uncles to go with them when they face Andy and his gang. Why doesn’t Mike like the idea? Discuss whether Joseph is a coward. How and why does Mike’s father support his fights with Andy?
4. Andy Simms holds the key to the mystery of why people are getting sick. Mike and Joseph plot ways to get Andy to talk. Joseph wants to beat it out of Andy, but Mike has a different theory–“If you wanted somebody’s help, you had to act polite, even if he was the scum of the earth.” (p. 156) Explain how Mike’s theory works with Andy.
5. Mike solves the mystery by using his head and his heart. Discuss the times when Mike uses his head? When does his heart take over? How might Mike Costa be good at conflict resolution? Andy Simms does say thank-you to Mike Costa. Why is it unlikely that they will become friends?