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Thursday, December 16, 2010

1 Skinny Sixth Grader + 1 Swirlie-Loving Bully + The First Day of Middle School = Disaster

(Image from Indiebound)

What do you get when you mix one scrawny 11-year-old, one swirlie-loving bully, one ex-best friend and the first day of middle school? A disaster, that's what. David Greenberg isn't exactly thrilled to be starting junior high, especially since he and his closest pal had a big fight. Now, David has to navigate the confusing world of Harman Middle School all on his own. To make things worse, his BFF's now hanging with the biggest bully in town. Their favorite target? You guessed it. David Greenberg.

At least David's troubles give him plenty of fodder for his online talk show. With the help of Hammy, his talented pet, David just knows that someday he's going to be as famous as his idol, Jon Stewart. When a new friend spreads the word about his videos, TalkTime goes viral. Suddenly, David's getting hundreds of hits and comments. He's an Internet sensation. Only his popularity doesn't follow him to school. If anything, it makes him a bigger target for the bullies. What's a short, nerdy sixth grader to do? Can he handle being a star? Can he make it out of middle school alive? As David treads the treacherous waters of middle school, he'll learn a whole lot about family, friendship, and the importance of following your dreams.

How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart is a laugh-out-loud funny story that perfectly captures the ups and downs of preadolesence. David's an engaging narrator, completely lovable and empathetic. Kids will find his woes familiar, his triumphs encouraging. With an engrossing plotline, interesting characters, and an upbeat tone, this charming treat of a novel is perfect for children dreading the jump from elementary to middle school and their parents (who are dreading it even more). I loved it. Hamster and all.

(Readalikes: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney [sans illustrations])

Grade: B+

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for very mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of How to Survive Middle School from the very generous Donna Gephart. Thank you!


  1. Dear Susan,
    I'm delighted that How to Survive Middle School was one of the 200 books you are reading this year.
    Thank you for your generous review. I feel like you really "got" what the book is about -- family, friendship, following your dreams.
    Best wishes for a happy, healthy, book-filled holiday season,

  2. Sounds like a fun book! I love the cover!


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