In 1922, at the age of two, Petey's distraught parents commit him to the state's insane asylum, unaware that their son is actually suffering from severe cerebral palsy. Bound by his wheelchair and struggling to communicate with the people around him, Petey finds a way to remain kind and generous despite the horrific conditions in his new "home." Through the decades, he befriends several caretakers but is heartbroken when each eventually leaves him. Determined not to be hurt again, he vows to no longer let hope of lifelong friends and family torment him. That changes after he is moved into a nursing home and meets a young teen named Trevor Ladd; he sees something in the boy and decides to risk friendship one last time. Trevor, new to town and a bit of a loner, is at first weary of the old man in the wheelchair. But after hearing more of his story, Trevor learns that there is much more to Petey than meets the eye.
Disability and Health; Physical disability; Developmental disability; mute; wheelchair user; cerebral palsy
ward of the state
Western Writers of America Spur Award, 1999, Winner, Juvenile Fiction
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001
Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006
Children's Literature Choice List, 1999 Longer Books with More Sophisticated Themes for Middle Readers (Children 8 to 12)
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, Grades 5 Up
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, 1998 Grades 5 Up
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 1999
YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2002 Relationships: Friends and Families
friendship; insane asylum; mental institution; nursing home; lonlieness; misdiagnosis; bullying
Mikaelsen, Ben, "Petey" (2010). Diverse Families. 1562.