It's Gary Paulsen so it's a no-brainer that it is going into the carry on immediately, right? FLAT BROKE (Wendy Lamb Books, July 2011) is a companion to LIAR, LIAR. Kevin has lost his allowance after his spate of telling lies has landed him into some considerable trouble. So, what's a guy to do but find some way to raise the dough to ask Tina to the school dance? Kevin's brain works overtime in this hilarious story of an eager entrepreneur who dreams big? <131>
This is quintessential Paulsen: short chapters, fast pacing, high humor that is never mean or pointed just funny as all get out. I loved his reference to LAWN BOY when Kevin reads a book about this kid like him who goes into the lawn business and becomes filthy rich. Middle school kids will love this book!
HER EVIL TWIN by Mimi McCoy (Scholastic, May 2011) is part of the Poison Apple series. I enjoy these quick reads for tween and young teen girls. Anna longs to be more popular now that she is in 7th grade. Her best friend Dory seems to be holding her back, though. But her new friend, Emma, might just be the ticket to popularity. But when Anna is blamed for things Emma does, the story takes a rather dark turn from the usual plot. Who is Emma? Why does everyone think that what Emma does is Anna's fault? <132>
Juan Felipe Herrera's SKATE FATE (HarperCollins 2011) is lyrical, pulsing, driven rhythm and rhyme. Combining a few scattered journal entries from Lucky Z along with his poetry, poetry that oozes from his pores, that crowds the pages of his journal, that springs from his lips. Lucky Z, injured in a drag racing incident that has left him in a wheelchair, finds his voice in the words that jump and fly and splat onto the page. Poems about places and people and his own experiences. Herrera's writing is authentic and haunting and energized. It begs not only to be shared in read aloud but to be pored over and read again and again. His phrasing, word choice, and topics will demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that poetry is alive and well. <133>