Hooray! Just what I need for my library! A funny book for boys. Brent Hartinger has restored my faith in humanity after a spring break filled with books I just didn't care for.
Dave, Victor and Curtis, all 15, are told by their respective fathers that they WILL get jobs this summer. But they don't want to. It is, after all, the last summer they have before getting sucked into a lifetime of working. So they devise A Plan. They will all pretend to have jobs, but raise the $7,000 or so the three of them would make in a different way. Their first plan is a garage sale. They earn over $6,000-- which they then have to spend to fix a car that they damage. They try scheme after scheme, which of course ends up being more work than actually showing up to lifeguard or fry chicken, but is much more fun. The ending is rather fantastical, but fun all the same.
What made this so successful for me was the combination of factors. Boys slightly older than my students, who are off doing independent things. Funny situations that the boys get into because they are trying to accomplish something else. The character development makes sense, and there are no heavy lessons learned, although there are a few sneaky ones. There is an element of mystery, some fun references particular to Tacoma, Washington, and a breezy tone that was completely enjoyable. 7th grader polished it off and shrugged that it was "okay" (high praise from this guy), and even my reluctant 5th grader who gets through three pages of most books before giving up thought that this one was fun.
Authors out there: Read this book. This is what I need. Include some skateboarding, and I'll buy five copies.