Ferraiolo, Jack. The Quick Fix.
1 October 2012, Harry N. Abrams
Nominated for the Cybils and copy provided by publisher/author
Matt is back after The Big Splash, and this time he has been hired by cheerleader Melissa to find out why her boyfriend Will has been acting strangely. Will had a wooden box that everyone in the school seems to want, especially criminal syndicate hear, Vinnie Biggs.Vinnie also wants to hire Matt to get the box, but Matt really doesn't want to deal with Vinnie or his hired thugs, the Thompson Twins, who also make highly addictive Pixy Stix. When Melissa is put on "the Outs", and the box has a piece of paper with the same alphanumerical clue that his dad left before he went missing, Matt knows that the stakes are high. If cheerleaders like the amazing Cynthia are seeking his help, something big is going on, and Matt needs to get to the bottom of it before he, too, is marked by Vinnie and his evil henchmen with a water gun to the pants front and put on "the Outs".
Strengths: Always need funny books for boys, and this has some good moments. Some potty humor, organized crime, running around. Kisses from cheerleaders. All good.
Weaknesses: The whole film noir aspect (Really-- a backyard "bar" where Matt can get whacked on root beer? And Pixy Stix addicts? Sigh.), as well as the "crime boss" of a middle school. This is where the boys and I disagree-- they like the unrealistic feel of kids doing things in school that would never actually happen (Teachers don't see the giant super soakers? Vinnie is making hundreds of dollars?). This is why The Fourth Stall and The Fourth Stall: Part II, Griff Carver, I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President are all popular. I just don't get them at all. I vastly preferred Ferraiolo's Sidekicks, which was much more interesting, and unrealistic enough that I didn't worry about suspending disbelief.