All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor is my ninth Nutmeg nominee, and my first completed book of our mandated school closing. Perry is born and raised in a co-ed correctional center by his mom and foster parent (the facility’s warden). Perry is a happy-go-lucky kid who is quite settled in his “prison” life, until someone finds out about his unique living experience.
The new D.A. in town decides that he must save Perry by getting him away from his mom and his correctional family. It turns out the D.A. is also responsible for the warden losing her job, and he is trying to hold up his mom’s parole eligibility. The only positive is that the D.A.’s stepdaughter is also Perry’s best (and only) friend at school, Zoey. Perry attempts to get through his time with the Van Leer/Samuels family, while still trying to stay connected to his mom through scheduled visits.
Perry decides to devote his school project to sharing the story of the inmates at his mom’s facility, including his mother’s. Each character adds a unique flair to the story. Working on the project makes Perry aware that there is more to his mom’s jail story than she previously led him to believe. Readers will find out more about Perry’s mom (Jessica’s) story, and whether or not the D.A. gets his way to keep her incarcerated.
Despite the setting, this is a story of hope and patience. It describes the need to stay positive and count one’s blessings, even in the most difficult of times. This is a fitting message in light of my current reality.