cover image How to Survive Middle School

How to Survive Middle School

Donna Gephart, . . Delacorte, $15.99 (247pp) ISBN 978-0-385-73793-7

This funny, tender novel stars 11-year-old David Greenberg, who lives with his father, older sister, and beloved grandmother (his mother left the family two years earlier). David idolizes comedian Jon Stewart and spends his days with his best friend, Elliott, uploading to YouTube episodes of his homemade show, TalkTime , which stars his pet hamster. But when middle school begins, Elliott abandons David for the school bully, and David, in turn, is befriended by formerly homeschooled new student Sophie, who loves his videos and sends them to her network of homeschooled kids. Gephart (As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! ) writes effectively about David's feelings about his family, his betrayal by Elliott, and his continued isolation: “What good does it do to have thousands of fans online when not a single person at school likes me except Sophie?” Although his observations sometimes seem too mature and the eventual resolution between David and Elliott feels anticlimactic, Gephart's story is relatable and compulsively readable. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)