If there were a prize for best supporting character, it would go to Aaron "Cantwait" of Anna Kurz's first novel, The Mealworm Diaries. Aaron fidgets until he flies off the page fully-formed, a hyperactive, awkward, smart, perceptive, sensitive yet unselfconscious kid.
We meet Aaron through the eyes of Jeremy, who has recently moved with his mother from rural Nova Scotia to the city of Toronto. Jeremy harbours a painful secret that haunts his dreams as he settles into his new home and school.
Jeremy and Aaron are paired together to do a science project about mealworms (for which they keep track of findings in a notebook they call "The Mealworm Diaries"). At first, Jeremy is not sure he wants to work with Aaron who comes across as a "weird kid." But Jeremy soon discovers that there is a lot more to Aaron than meets the eye, like how smart he is when it comes to science.
At one point, Aaron mentions randomly that he used to have nightmares until he learned that you can stop bad dreams by turning them off, like turning off a light switch. The next time Jeremy has a nightmare, Aaron appears within the dream and reminds him to turn it off. Eventually, Jeremy's bad dreams stop altogether.
The contrast between the sights, sounds, and smells of rural Nova Scotia versus urban Toronto as experienced by Jeremy is sharp and beautifully described.
The Mealworm Diaries is a feel-good novel recommended for readers aged 9-12.