The Saturday Boy
By David Fleming. Viking, $16.99 (261 p.)
It's been eight months, one week, and four days since 11-year-old Derek Lamb has seen his father, an Apache pilot serving in Afghanistan. Derek attempts to navigate his last year of elementary school, puzzling over a former friendship that has gone awry, and considering a new friendship with—gasp!—a girl. Whenever he needs advice or comfort, he turns to his father's weekly letters, more than 90 of them, stored under his bed in his father's old Knight Rider lunchbox. Ages 10-up.