cover image The Seventh-Grade Weirdo

The Seventh-Grade Weirdo

Lee Wardlaw. Scholastic, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-44805-5

Though narrator Christopher ``Rob'' Robin is ``determined to be normal like other kids,'' he faces an uphill battle: ``I have the weirdest family in the world.'' His surfer father is a mite flaky, and his mother, a children's bookseller, drives around town in a van that brashly promotes her company. But it's Winnie, Rob's five-year-old sister and an acclaimed genius, who enrages him the most. He hates the attention heaped on him as a result of her publicity, and thinks that her embodying the personae of storybook characters is decidedly odd. When she embarrasses him in front of Jenner, his quasi-girlfriend, and The Shark, his relentless tormentor, Rob's anger escalates, as does the widespread teasing at school. But Jenner's affection for him and his deep-rooted love for Winnie eventually endow Rob with enough gumption to meet The Shark in a final showdown. Told in flashback, Wardlaw's novel contains extraneous material that protracts her essentially small story, and is further encumbered by its unappealing protagonist. Would Rob's transformation have occurred without Jenner's boosting his confidence? Not likely. Will this book--despite its catchy title--hold readers' attention? Not likely. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)