cover image The Shorty Society: 9

The Shorty Society: 9

Sheri Cooper Sinykin / Author Viking Children's Books $14.99 (

As Sinykin's ( The Buddy Trap ) wanly entertaining novel opens, Drew Minardi, a seventh grader, finds rotting shrimp in his locker. Why? It's a mean way for his former best friend, Danny Greeson, and Kevin Scudder--aka Greese and Scud--to remind Drew that he is short. Drew bands together with fellow shrimps Bo and Kate to form the Shorty Society, the goal of which is to avenge crimes of height. The three, for example, order pizzas to be delivered to Greese's house; then, suffused with the glow of success, they have portable toilets delivered there as well. While these pranks continue episodically, several themes are introduced: Drew's religious identity (Should he go to Rosh Hashanah services with Mom, or be Catholic like Dad?); coming to terms with the end of a friendship; and Drew's sometimes confusing relationship with the boyish Kate. Unfortunately, none of these is given more than lip service, and the grand finale--the Shorties pull down Greese's and Scud's pants at a school dance, then feel acute remorse--is brittle and unconvincing. Sinykin's breezy style does not compensate for her story's, ahem, shortcomings. Ages 10-up. (Aug.)