The Mighty Quinn

Robyn Parnell, illus. by Katie and Aaron DeYoe. Scarletta Junior Readers (PGW, dist.), $10.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-938063-10-7
When free-spirited Neally Ray Stand-well arrives in Quinn Andrews-Lee’s fifth-grade class, it’s the start of a friendship that will change Quinn’s life. Quinn is being picked on by a bully named Matt, and his two good friends are slowly being pulled into Matt’s circle. Quinn’s family supports him, but it’s Neally who shows Quinn how to stand up to and deflect Matt’s taunts. A number of the kids’ exchanges center around the conservative teachings of Matt’s minister father versus Neally’s more liberal understanding of God and spirituality. As Quinn spends more time with Neally and her family, he develops a close relationship with Neally’s father, who suggests that Matt may have it tougher than Quinn and Neally think. Although the story suffers from a slow pace and drawn-out conversations, Parnell neatly weaves ideas about social justice and acceptance into her first middle-grade novel. Neally is a shade too confident to be believed, but her lack of conformity and faith in her own beliefs are welcome. The DeYoes’ cartoon spot illustrations bring a cheerful touch to this thought-provoking read. Ages 8–12. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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