Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary Schmidt
Things are going pretty rough for Carter Jones and his family. It’s raining like an Australian tropical thunderstorm, his Dad is still deployed in Germany, the family Jeep isn’t working, it’s and the first day of school. That’s probably why when a strange British guy shows up on the doorstep Carter’s mom accepts his help. The Butler, who prefers to be called a gentleman’s gentleman, worked for Carter’s grandfather in England. In his will, he left money for the Butler to work for Carter’s family instead. Carter isn’t too keen on being turned into a gentleman, especially when it means walking his dog (even in the middle of an Australian tropical thunderstorm) and taking his little sisters to the ballet and learning to play cricket. Of course, there are perks, too. Like the Butler teaching Carter to drive even though he’s only twelve. And cricket doesn’t turn out to be so bad either. In fact, having the Butler around might be just what Carter needs, especially when he gets the second worst news of his life.
This is a fun and funny story that touches on some very deep and difficult topics at the same time. Recommended for readers in middle school and up.