cover image The Losers Club

The Losers Club

Andrew Clements. Random House, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-399-55755-2

Sixth grader Alec Spencer spends most of his time reading—in real life he’s harassed by his neighbor and former friend Kent, and books are a welcome escape. But Alec’s constant reading is putting him in the academic danger zone (summer school is a distinct possibility). At the after-school program Alec is participating in, the options are to do homework, join a club, or create one; just sitting and reading isn’t allowed. So he starts a club for silent reading and calls it the Losers Club to keep membership small, though he does invite new student Nina. But others soon want to join, and both Alec and Kent develop a crush on Nina. Inveterate readers will instantly relate to Alec’s passion and plight, and Clements (The Map Trap) once again effectively taps into the challenges of middle school social politics and mapping out one’s identity. This empathetic coming-of-age journey makes it clear how limiting and pointless labels can be, and that both books and real life have quite a bit to offer. Ages 8–12. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Aug.)