cover image Save Me a Seat

Save Me a Seat

Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-545-84660-8

An immigrant boy and a long-bullied American kid learn that things aren’t always as they seem in this engrossing and poignant tale from Weeks (Honey) and newcomer Varadarajan. Fifth grader Ravi was a star student back in India, but in New Jersey, his classmates can’t understand his accented English, and his freshly-pressed clothes and homemade curry lunches mark him as different. For Joe, who has Auditory Processing Disorder (“My brain and noise don’t get along”), school has become an ordeal, mostly because the most popular boy in class bullies him at every opportunity. Ravi and Joe’s stories span a single week, with alternating narratives revealing their different perspectives of the same events. Joe’s suffering is acutely felt, especially when his mother displays embarrassing gestures of affection for all to see. As Ravi’s confidence slowly erodes, he begins to question who he is and where he belongs. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider will appreciate and draw strength from Ravi and Joe as they strive to find the courage to improve their lives. Ages 8–12. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (May)