Author: Mark Goldblatt
Publisher: Random House for Young Readers
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
I'd like to thank the publisher for offering me a copy of this book for an unbiased review.
Favorite Lines/Passage: So when I say I hate Shakespeare, I mean it. Lots of guys say they hate him, and what they mean is they hate the stuff he writes. But I don't only hate the stuff he writes. I hate Shakespeare for writing the stuff. I hate the guy, William Shakespeare. If I met him on the street, I'd just keep walking. Because you know, you just know, while he was writing the stuff he was writing, he was thinking how clever he was. He was sitting at his desk, writing words, and he could've just said what he meant, but instead he prettied it up until it could mean everything or it could mean nothing or it could mean whatever the teacher say it means. (Page 17)
Description: It's not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . .
Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.
Inspired by Mark Goldblatt's own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with humor and heart. This remarkably powerful story will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.
"A vivid, absorbing story about one boy’s misadventure, heartache, and hope for himself." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me
NIGHTSTAND WORTHY +1
My Splats: Journey inside the mind of a middle grader, as he shares his fears, regrets, and hopes through a touching journal exercise.
Just by the passage I shared with you, I think you can tell at least one reason why I enjoyed this read. What makes this book is the voice. Hands down. Julian has a unique tone to his attitudes about his experiences, I couldn't help but like him. He's bright for his age--which he seems embarrassed about--and comprehends the world around him. I loved how honest he was about his view of the world while writing in his journal.
The next element I thought of while reading was how easily middle graders could relate to Julian's position: being a watcher while negative action is taking place in front of him. Then, one of life's big choices presents itself to him: does he join in or walk away? It also gave a vibrancy to the thought we've all had--"Thank God it's not me being picked on."
Setting the story during the 1960s worked, eliminating distractions from all our technological devices of today; it gave the story a direct focus on Julian's issues at hand.
His thoughts in his journal were always addressed to his teacher, which gave an intriguing glimpse at student/teacher relationship. The more he wrote about events during his days the more intimate and in tune with himself he became. It was wonderful watching his maturing process. Of course, there was plenty of the average and expected events that happen to him as a middle grader. Girls, rough-housing with the boys, and other growing pains that make this book interesting.
I'd recommend this book to any MGer who likes older settings and a more personal view inside a character. There's not much fantasy or adventure, so I wouldn't recommend it to those kiddos.
Read any good MG books, lately? Did you have a book or series of books during your MG years that you could relate to your own life?