Paulsen, Gary. Family Ties (Liar, Liar #5)
July 22nd 2014
by Wendy Lamb Books
Kevin is still trying his best to impress Tina, on whom he has such a crush that he thinks about marrying her when he grows up. What better way to show his commitment to the future than helping his somewhat odd Uncle Will plan his wedding, or helping Tina's friend Katie with their family life project for which they choose to take care of a popcorn "baby" and document its care? In true Kevin fashion, he is bound and determined to do everything on his own, which is good, because his busy working parents seem to just shake their heads over the growing chaos in the house as they rush to escape to the sanity of their offices. Kevin also promises to have an entry to the school arts fair, but doesn't leave himself enough time to get everything done. Like the other books in this series, impossible and hysterical situations abound.
Strengths: These books are fantastic for reluctant readers, or for readers who just want a short, funny book to last them a day or two. Paulsen has a great turn for comedy, and the different dysfunctional family members alone are a marvel of character descriptions. Kevin makes himself the center of all events, which is a very middle grade view of the world. From the vibrant covers to the wacky endings, these books have all the successful elements of middle grade literature!
Weaknesses: It was slightly creepy how convinced Kevin was that he would marry Tina when they grew up. Do middle school boys really think this way? I'm even afraid to ask!