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Release Date: May 28th, 2013 | Publisher: Random House
Genre: Realism, Humor, Historical Fiction, Bully | Pages: 288

I opened my email one day to see that I was auto-approved to read today’s story on NetGalley. I didn’t even know that sort of approval existed! But… then I got to looking at the story and realized it was so one I would enjoy. Cool that NetGalley knows me….or creepy?
Either way… I’m excited to share this story with you!

I was provided a copy from Random House via NetGalley. I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.

Summary

Julian Twerski–otherwise known as Twerp–is usually just a normal kid. He’s nothing like a bully. But after being suspended for a week, his English teacher cuts him a deal. If he keeps a journal and willingly writes about the incident that got him and his friends suspended, then he gets out of Julius Caesar and all accompanying projects. Julian decides this journal thing is definitely for him, and what follows is the hilarious account of his sixth grade year. From love letters, to track races, to new kids, and pigeons.
But behind all of his words, the one story he’s supposed to write, just can’t be written.

5 Reasons Why This Book is Marvelous!

  1. Last week, I featured Wonder by R. J. Palacio, and I was so excited to have found such a heartwarming tale about kids who are different and the topic of bullies. It was one of those stories that I think Middle graders will love to read, but walk away having learned something without realizing it. Twerp is kind of like that. Throughout the whole story, there is this underlying tale that Julian sort of refuses to tell. He just can’t. But by the end of the novel when he finally opens up, it’s a story about bullying, and mistakes, and remorse. It’s a story where what happened in 1960’s Queens could still happen today. It’s a story that will leave readers thinking, wow… for multiple reasons. It’s a difficult story. It’s a moving story. And it’s a story that many middle schoolers need to hear.
  2. Continuing on with the trend lately–think The Chronicles of Egg, Wonder–here is another book with a male main character! I mean, don’t get me wrong because I do love stories that feature female main characters, but middle school boys need to read and they don’t want to read about girls! This story is, I’d say historical fiction simply because it’s set in 1960 and not now, (so it’s not really contemporary) but it isn’t an action story or a wizard story. It’s about every day boy stuff and with Julian’s humor, I know middle school boys are not only going to relate to the story, but love it!
  3. Guys…the humor in this story is hilarious! First of all, Julian is writing this journal for his English class so we get a fabulous look at him through 1st person. We see the stories as he sees them–which might not always be the real way–but get to understand his thoughts and feeling about things too. For a sixth grader, he is a fabulous writer, and I applaud Goldblatt for really finding the voice of Julian. He isn’t overwritten, and he is voice is not above his age. I feel like this is a story that really could have been written by a sixth grader. The way he just tells his stories about his sixth grade year exude humor–both in dialogue, and jokes, and the snarky comments or way he thinks about things. I was laughing all over the place while I was reading.
  4. One thing I really love about this story is that each chapter is almost like a new short story. Julian mostly stays in chronological order about his school year–and it is a journal project after all–but each chapter talks about something different that he either participates in or that just happens to him. You could pull out any one chapter, read it, and pretty much get a short story from it; however, Goldblatt has a nice way of connecting each story as well. Though not much time passes between each chapter, I just really like the concept that each one focuses on a specific situation. It divides the story nicely, provides solid stopping points, and opens up the book for fabulous discussion. Plus, we really see Julian change over the course of the novel. His character grows tremendously, and by the time the story is finished, I’ve fallen in love with him all over again.
  5. Again…this is another story that simply deals with a hard topic. Bullying is so apparent in our society, and I don’t think it is addressed often enough in books. Sure it’s great for middle schoolers to want to be like boy wizards or find heroines to admire, but most times, it’s the everyday kids who really make a difference. I will forever be drawn to books that embrace real-world situations and that encourage kids to be good in this world. Twerp does that. And it does that by showing us how Julian changes, and how he feels, and how he wants to be better. I couldn’t ask for more from a book.

must-readBook Talk: Have you heard about Twerp yet? What are you thoughts on books that tackle the bullying topic?

Hopeful reading!

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