5/2/11 ** This was a Young Hoosier Nominee for 2010-2011; before I returned all the nominees to the library, there were a few I still wanted to read. I think this has to go onto my wishlist of books to own.
I thoroughly enjoyed Brendan's character. His internal dialogue during his quest to understand the world around him keeps the book lighthearted, while also sometimes poignant. Brendan is a self-described scientist - asking questions, looking for answers, and struggling to against the information constraints imposed by his parents. He's also involved with Tae Kwon Do and constantly seeks to apply the precepts of that discipline to his daily life. Finally, he's biracial. Up to this point, his life has been fairly sheltered, and he hasn't had to consider how race shapes who he is. Over the course of the book he has several encounters which bring the question of race into stark relief. Most importantly, he discovers that there is a looming family secret around the question of an absent grandfather.
This book would make a great read-aloud for the brave soul who doesn't mind a science experiment about the size of a 10-year-old boy's bladder (hold it forever and pee into a 2 liter bottle!) This would also be a compelling book for any child who isn't quite sure how he or she fits into categories defined by others.