Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Todd Strasser Overview

Okay, I'm cheating and not reading R.L. Stine. That will be easier this summer when I can get the books in order and not miss any.

Todd Strasser has an impressive number of books, dating back to 1981 with Friends 'Til the End, which I need to read tonight. Oddly, his web site
( doesn't even mention this, or Angel Dust Blues, which is figured prominently on his early book jackets.

Beyond the Reef (1989) is one that I enjoyed, and my 8th grade boys have been liking it as well. Chris's parents move from New York to Florida so that his father can hunt for sunken treasure off the coast. While Chris enjoys the adventure and the general pace of their new life, it is difficult for his mother. A little humor, a few problems, and an older character make this appealing. The descriptions of diving and treasure don't hurt either. It's the only book I can think of where the authors picture looks oddly like the cover illustration.

The Accident is a good mystery, if a little predictable. (And in the 80s there were a TON of drunk driving accident books for some reason.) Matt is too busy throwing up to get into the car with his friends, and three of them are killed. His next door neighbor, who is a problem child, was driving, and the community makes life difficult for the boy's mother. But what really happened that night? Matt works through his grief by investigating.

Can't Get There From Here is one of the most popular titles in my library. Told from the point of view of different street children who have a variety of problems, the 7th graders who crave drug abuse/child abuse love this one.

How I Changed My Life and Girl Gives Birth to Own Prom Date are read frequently by students who want humorous books. Funny school stories.

Give a Boy a Gun is an interesting collection of facts, stories about school shootings, and accounts of a fictional shooting from different points of view.

Thief of Dreams is a nice, short mystery. Martin's parents ignore him, so he likes the attention his uncle gives him, until he finds out that his uncle has some secrets.

Help! I'm Trapped in the First Day of School is a fun book about a boy who keeps reliving one day. This is my favorite in the Help! series, but my children liked all of them.

Reviewed Mob Princess on September 07, 2007 and Boot Camp on October 02, 2007 .

For a more complete list of books, visit:

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