Saturday, December 03, 2022

Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Club - Roll Call

Ostertag, Molly Knox and Bouma, Xanthe (Illus.)
Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Club - Roll Call 
November 29, 2022 by Harperalley 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Olivia and Jess have been best friends for a long time, and spend many hours working on "Tales of Corius", a fantasy story line they work into a Dungeons and Dragons like game. As they are starting eighth grade, Jess is very interested in becoming popular and making other friends, like Sam and Sami, but Olivia wants it to just be the two of them. Jess decides to start a Dungeons and Dragons club at school, and puts up posters. Olivia finds that the school bully, Kelly, makes fun of her when she does anything unusual, so Olivia takes down a lot of the signs, agreeing with Jess that Kelly must be behind their disappearance. Jess's parents want her to get involved in other activities, so she runs for student council with Sam and Sami, which makes Olivia feel even further alienated from her friend. Jess allows Tyler to join their group, but he and Olivia have a difficult past; in 6th grade Tyler told everyone that he was "dating" Olivia, which made her angry, but it turns out that he did that because people were calling him gay (he's not, but he likes to draw), and he thought that Olivia wouldn't mind because she was so nice. Olivia is pretty mean to him, but as their D&D game progresses, she finds out he's fairly nice and interesting. Outside of the game, there are fewer dragons but even more drama. Will Olivia and Jess be able to stay friends and share their passion for creating interesting fictional worlds despite all of the pressures of middle school?
Strengths: The friend drama in this is spot on, even the way that Olivia treats Tyler. Is it fair? Probably not, but Olivia was clearly not happy when Tyler told everyone they were dating. Evil Kelly brings is up later as well, with some fairly realistic hall way bullying that is nipped in the bud by a passing teacher. There are lots and lots of D&D details that will definitely intrigue readers interested in the fame, and it was good to see that Jess eventually got others interested in the club. This author's The Girl From the Sea is very popular, so I'm sure this title will do well. 
Weaknesses: I always struggle when books have depictions of student council elections, since my school can't get enough people together to even have one. Also, Kelly was a rather stereotypical bully, which lesssened her impact for me. 
What I really think: With this book and Formato's Roll for Initiative, there is clearly a middle grade trend gaining speed. I encourage my students to look into getting a group together at home to play this game; there is not way in the world I am going to hang out with tweens long enough to supervise this game, which could take entire days. I know. I have friends who play!

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment