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Reviewed by Melanie Kennedy for Readers' Favorite
At Trails End: Homecoming by John Strother tells the story of four unlucky sophomore boys who attend Trails End’s high school. Unfortunately, in their first days, each boy has a fateful encounter with Assistant Coach Anders, earning themselves their respective monikers: Ink, Dusty, Smoke, and Cowboy. We follow these unlucky kids as they adjust to life at a new school and their less than enthusiastic teacher, Paul Matthews, who they cleverly tricked into helping them. Even with Paul’s sharp wit and quips, he won’t be able to avoid participating in some actual school activities. With the help of some other teachers and students, and no help from Paul, can the boys create a successful band that will repair their unfortunate reputations?
John Strother has written a witty and well-paced story about life in a small Texas town. Coming from a small town myself, I know how narrow-minded some people can be. John knows how to capture this but adds a decent serving of humor to keep us entertained. The character of Paul Matthews in At Trails End is wonderfully written as a sharp-witted middle-aged man who uses his words as his weapons and as his entertainment. The story made me question if the four boys were that unlucky, or if there were other nefarious characters at play. I grew to admire the boys as they set about turning their reputations around and started having fun creating and practicing in a band. Nothing like a little music to help you in your time of need.