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Marcus Lakewood III, best known as Phones due to his ever-present headphones and old school hip hop music, wasn’t having a good time these days. His best friend, Brain, moved to another part of town, the 6th grade bully, Juice Box, broke his beloved headphones, and his parents just told him they’re about to lose their house to a thing called a “foreclosure.” He didn’t know what to do or who to talk to.

He used to be able to talk to Pop, his grandfather, but he died. Marcus could only sit in Pop’s favorite chair and hope his whispers made it to heaven. Now, he might not be able to do that much longer if he had to leave the only home he’d ever known. Marcus tried to perfect the superhero he’d been drawing, but his dad wants him to put down his sketchbook and get better grades in science. “You’re going to be a doctor, Marcus. Dreams don’t pay the mortgage.”

Would the Lakewood family be able to come up with the money they need to save the house? Would Juice Box ever leave Marcus alone? If only Marcus could talk to Pop, surely he’d have some ideas.

Squeak? Squeak? Marcus pulled his knees into his chest and looked around the room. Was he still asleep? He was sure he was awake and hearing his grandfather using the pet name he called him. Squeak? Squeak? Pies, Squeak.

Phones speaks on topics such as foreclosure, bullying, parental expectation vs. personal passion, while examining the question, “does money buy happiness?” When Pop was alive, he thought he knew the answer; and now that he’s not, he knows he needs to get the message to his loved ones from beyond. Luckily, his grandson found his old headphones.

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