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It's 1969 and the entire nation is waiting for the United States to win the space race and put the first man on the moon. Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Jack Fisher-malnourished and battered, abandoned by his father, neglected by his mother, manipulated by his older sister, harangued by his boss, and shortchanged by customers-is delivering newspapers in downtown Pawtucket and trying to keep his family from self-destructing completely. As the whole world holds its breath to see what will become of the Apollo 11 astronauts, Jack clings to his daily mantra, "Things will get better." But in this poignant novel by award-winning short story writer Bob Thurber, things do not get better; they get drastically worse, at space-age speed.