Twelve-year-old Gavin Baker, son of a warrior, is a born worrier. With his father serving overseas, Gavin assumes that he’s already imagined the worst that can happen—until he shakes hands with his best friend Javi’s long-lost grandfather and finds himself trapped in the old magician’s ailing body. Help! As the trickster takes over Gavin’s life, fooling the girl of his dreams and even his own family, Gavin wonders if the imposter is a better version of Gavin than Gavin himself. He has to convince Javi that the real Gavin now has hairy knuckles and a love of Pablo Neruda’s poetry. Then the boys can try some tricks of their own. But will the two friends be able to reverse the old devil’s magic? Or will both of their families get their hearts broken?
Praise for If You Meet the Devil, Don't Shake Hands
Gavin Baker, age twelve, is an overly cautious kid, excellent student, average in soccer but that’s okay (for now), and a bit of a worrier. He’s part of a four-person family, with a father serving in the military, an active mom, and older sister, a.k.a The Scorpion, whose role is to make his life miserable. Gavin feels there are more important things than scoring a goal for his soccer team, but he has a need to warn everyone about the dangers of everything. That is, until some magic from his best friend’s grandpa changes his life and plunges his life into turmoil. Gavin’s struggles reveal to him what’s important in life, friends, and family. It’s a crazy and sometimes frustrating journey. From silly to serious, the situations in which Gavin finds himself are intriguing and eye-opening. An exciting read for middle graders and also their parents.
~Gail Hedrick, author of Something Stinks
Young readers will be turning pages eagerly to find out how Gavin manages to stave off worry, live in a body decades older than his own, and find the secret magic to reverse the switcheroo before he’s trapped forever. Author Sylvia Whitman has assembled a compelling cast of characters, crafting a high-spirited adventure which explores identity from various points of view.
~ Dianne Ochiltree, writing coach and author of Molly, By Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s Female Firefighter