When a family buys a house in a struggling town for just one dollar, they’re hoping to start over — but have they traded one set of problems for another?

Twelve-year-old Lowen Grover, a budding comic-book artist, is still reeling from the shooting death of his friend Abe when he stumbles across an article about a former mill town giving away homes for just one dollar. It not only seems like the perfect escape from Flintlock and all of the awful memories associated with the city, but an opportunity for his mum to run her very own business. Fortunately, his family is willing to give it a try. But is the Dollar Program too good to be true? The homes are in horrible shape, and the locals are less than welcoming. Will Millville and the dollar house be the answer to the Grovers’ troubles? Or will they find they’ve traded one set of problems for another? From the author of Small as an Elephant and Paper Things comes a heart-tugging novel about guilt and grief, family and friendship, and, above all, community.


  • Indie Next List (fall 2018)

  • Amazon Book of the Month (August, 2018)

  • Bank Street College Best Children’s Book 2018 (starred)


School Library Journal (starred review) Without resorting to stereotypes, Jacobson creates a rich cast of characters who are realistic and complex. The prose flows naturally and the pacing is swift...A skillfully written and heartfelt novel about a family making a new home, recovering from grief, and the town full of people who join them on their journey.

Kirkus Reviews: Jacobson insightfully examines the dynamics of small-town life and strategies for revitalization as well as the landscape of Lowen's complex grief and survivor's guilt...A rich, thoughtful exploration of individual and community resilience.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books: Infrequent but charming comic-panel illustrations punctuate the story as Lowen hesitates with his creativity but nonetheless imagines an afterlife for his late friend...Jacobson manages to tell an excellently nuanced story of all sorts of after- lives—after death, after failure, after loss, afterwards.

Publishers Weekly: Jacobson memorably sketches Lowen’s family dynamics, particularly his complicated relationship with his older brother, and his journey offers a compelling portrait of community and rebirth. Andrews’s comics panels, which appear at several key intervals in the text, offer further insight into Lowen’s struggles, particularly his grief over Abe’s death.

School Library Connection: Lowen’s relationships with his family members and the other kids are authentically portrayed, particularly in the case of his older brother, Clem. Based on similar real-life economic incentive programs, the “dollar program” in this story provides an excellent starting point for discussions with readers beginning to notice and question economic disparity in their own communities.--------