First of all, you need to adjust your set. This book is NOT realistic fiction. If you start reading thinking it is, it will just give you a headache. Think fantasy with no real fantastical elements. Okay? Here we go.
Chapman, Clay McLeod. Homeroom Headhunters. (The Tribe #1)
7 May 2013, Hyperion Books
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Spencer is one of those kids who just can't hold it together. He didn't MEAN to set fire to his last school; it just happened. His mom wants him not to "rock the boat" at his new school, but of course he irritates the swirly-giving bully on the very first day. Oddly, though, every time Spencer finds himself in a dire situation, he sees someone peek out from the ceiling tiles to aid him, whether it's dropping an extra asthma inhaler or shooting spit balls at an enemy. At first, he thinks he's losing it, but eventually he finds out the truth-- there are six former students from his middle school who fit in so badly that they decided to disappear and live at the school, performing small acts of vandalism for fun and to make a statement against the sort of students who gave them a hard time. Spencer isn't sure he wants to join them, although he is drawn to the only girl in the group, Sully, but he is having such a hard time that he may have no choice. Aside from dealing with the school bully, who does things like attempting to make him eat a urinal cake, he is blamed for everything that the tribe does around the school, such as strapping the bully to a wheelie chair wearing only girls' underwear and wheeling him into the girls' locker room. The tribe escalates their behavior, and soon there is a brouhaha at the school Christmas assembly that involves advanced food poisoning evidenced by flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. Spencer again gets blamed, so has a choice to make. Will he go live with his father, or run away and join the tribe?
Strengths: This is a more extreme version of The Fourth Stall. It's gross, over-the-top, and involves middle school humor liked referring to the ASSistant principal, torturing people by putting staple removers into their noses, and staging an epic food fight. Maybe the quotes from Lord of the Flies will entice students to read that. (Which is, oddly, one of Surly Teen Boy's favorites.) This is the first book in a trilogy.
Weaknesses: *Sigh*. It helps me to think of this as R.L. Stine-ish. Obviously, a community isn't going to have six missing children from one school. They aren't going to live in the building unnoticed. It's fantasy. I guess it's good to know that I haven't completely become a 12-year-old boy. I did not personally enjoy this one, but its appeal to students is undeniable.
Lee, Jenny. Elvis and the Underdogs.
14 May Balzer and Bray
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Have to admit that I loved the cover of this so much that I rather ignored the description of it. I think that this was just too young for my students. Fantasy is okay, but a talking dog suddenly inserted into a book about a medically fragile boy is not going to appeal to them. Somewhat humorous, this had some things going for it, so take a look. I, however, will pass.
From the Publisher:
"Benji Wendell Barnsworth
is a small ten-year-old boy with a big personality. Born premature,
Benji is sickly, accident prone, and at the hospital so often he even
has his own punch card. That is, until the day Benji wakes up from a
particularly bad spell. Concerned for Benji's health, the doctor offers
him two options: wear the world's ugliest padded helmet or get a therapy
dog. Benji chooses the dog, of course.
But when a
massive crate arrives at Benji's house, out walks a two-hundred-pound
Newfoundland. And that isn't even the strangest thing about the dog. He
announces that his name is Parker Elvis Pembroke IV. That's right, this
dog can talk! And boy, is he bossy.
bossy dog can come in handy, though. Elvis brings out the dog lover in
the most surprising people and shows Benji that making new friends may
not be as scary as he once thought."
Library Blather: Everyone familiar with Anne Taintor? You absolutely should be. If she had a library line, it would be awesome.
I didn't just dream that my library was clean. I worked 15 extra hours a week for 36 weeks, and it is! Well, it will be by next Friday. I also have finished inventory, have book orders assembled for next year, and have only 50 overdue books (down to less the five by the time students leave... or else!). The collection is beautiful, the equipment is in order (if a little dusty), and I have a volunteer in today to process 80 new nonfiction titles.
So why do I feel guilty that the library is closed and I want to work on lessons for teachers that coordinate with the Common Core? Any time I am sitting down at the computer not working with students, I feel guilty, even if I am able to sit at the computer because I was using Ajax on the back counter at 4:45 a.m.
But the library is so PRETTY now. I'll just have to get over it!