Finalist, National Book Awards 2023 for Young People's Literature

ISBN 9781536231113
Candlewick Press
Author photo of Kenneth Cadow. (Photo credit: Lars Blackmore)
Kenneth M. Cadow

Kenneth M. Cadow is an educator and writer who lives in Pompanoosuc, Vermont. Gather is his first young adult novel. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

Ian Gray isn’t supposed to have a dog, but a lot of things that shouldn’t happen end up happening anyway. And Gather, Ian’s adopted pup, is good company now that Ian has to quit the basketball team, find a job, and take care of his mom as she tries to overcome her opioid addiction. Despite the obstacles thrown their way, Ian is determined to keep his family afloat no matter what it takes. And for a little while, things are looking up: Ian makes friends, and his fondness for the outdoors and for fixing things lands him work helping neighbors. But an unforeseen tragedy results in Ian and his dog taking off on the run, trying to evade a future that would mean leaving their house and their land. Even if the community comes together to help him, would Ian and Gather have a home to return to?

Told in a wry, cautious first-person voice that meanders like a dog circling to be sure it’s safe to lie down, Kenneth M. Cadow’s resonant debut brings an emotional and ultimately hopeful story of one teen’s resilience in the face of unthinkable hardships.

Judges Citation

Gather is a dog, but Gather is about gathering together resources, people, and love. Kenneth M. Cadow tells a story about finding value in what—and who—might be easily overlooked. Ian’s struggles and triumphs—within himself, his family, and his community—explore larger questions about belonging to a place and a way of life. In familiar yet transcendent prose, each intricate sentence, doubling back satisfyingly upon itself, forces us to pay attention until the very end.


Kenneth W. Cadow at the 2023 National Book Awards Finalist Reading