Twerp

Mark Goldblatt, Author
Mark Goldblatt. Random, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-375-97142-6
Reviewed on: 03/25/2013
Release date: 05/28/2013
Compact Disc - 978-0-8041-2156-9
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-375-97145-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-61140-5
Library Binding - 275 pages - 978-0-375-97143-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-8041-2158-3
Open Ebook - 163 pages - 978-0-375-97144-0
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Adult author Goldblatt (Africa Speaks) makes his children’s book debut with a coming-of-age novel set in 1969, a mix of awkward adolescent stumbling, pockets of sweetness, and oft-used tropes. Sixth-grader Julian Twerski has returned from a school suspension and accepted a deal to write a journal for his English class about what he did. As Julian avoids talking about the actual act of bullying that got him in trouble, he recounts the events of the semester in journal entries. These adventures follow the formula for the genre, ranging from uncomfortable first kisses and dates to extracurricular shenanigans (often accompanied by injuries of varied severity); an early sequence about the death of a bird is among the novel’s best and most moving segments. The crucial moment of bullying, although appalling, doesn’t quite live up to its buildup, and the familiar “bully forced to keep a journal” concept is somewhat clichéd. Occasional cultural reference aside, the historical setting doesn’t contribute a great deal to the story, but Julian’s anecdotes are entertaining and Goldblatt’s characters well-written. Ages 9–12. Agent: Scott Gould, RLR Associates. (May)
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