Recommended for Readers
in Grades 6 and up
2016 - National Book Award List for Young People's Literature
Nick has a passion for soccer, a crush on April, some worrying about his parents, and a strong wish that he can avoid both his father's specialized dictionary (or even avoid reading completely), and the twin bullies who attend his school when they aren't suspended from it. His eighth grade year has been a mix of ups and downs, and he's hoping to find more inflatus than yobbery.
This is fast read with an appealing main character. The story is told through a series of poetry, and although the protagonist dislikes reading, a number of books (including All the Broken Pieces and Out of the Dust) are discussed, partly through Nick's interaction with the school librarian. It is a little too common to read books for kids in which the main character is collecting vocabulary words in some way, as a means of introducing these words to readers, and although Nick collects them reluctantly through his father's footnoted dictionary, it's a familiar device. Otherwise, the relationships are constructed in genuine ways, and I particularly enjoyed the small moments described between Nick and his mother. This book is both well-crafted and appealing to a wide range of readers.
The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.
**Questions coming soon**
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