Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jeremy Bender vs. The Cupcake Cadets by Eric Luper

This book has a fun plot, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Jeremy is in big trouble. He ruins the engine on his father's boat with grape soda and green paint, and it will cost $470 to clean up the mess. That's $450 more than his friend, Slater, and he have together. The solution? Enter a model boat contest with $500 going to the winner! The problem? The contest is only open to girls who are members of the Cupcake Cadets. The solution? Jeremy and Slater become Jenna and Samantha, home-schooled, fraternal twins. They must first sell one-hundred boxes of the disgusting cupcakes and earn three merit badges. How can two boys hide their female identities, especially with the overnight camping trip coming up? What will happen if/when they are discovered?

The plot is not serious and is a nice change from the popular vampire, supernatural, action novels. It's about a couple of normal, sixth-grade boys who are trying to deal with school, family, girls, and the school bully. The conflict takes a giant leap right at the beginning of the book when Slater saves Jeremy by giving the bully a megawedgie! The plot takes a new twist when the boys' plan is discovered, but it becomes a new problem, not a solution. It comes to a nice climax at the boating contest, and all of the characters live up to the Cupcake Cadets motto, kind of.

Lexile level from lexile.com 720

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen

This book was written by the same author as Word Nerd, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Violet's movie-director father has an affair and moves to California where he lives with his new wife and two-year-old twins. Violet is not dealing well with the situation. She flies out to California with her little sister to visit, but they're sent home the next day when Violet makes a very poor decision. Luckily, Violet has her best friend for support as she tries to handle the divorce and life in the seventh grade. Her mother is dating various men that Violet thinks are losers. Now, she's dating Dudley Wiener, and he's clearly not good enough for her mom. Just look at his name! The only person good enough for her mom is George Clooney, and she gets ideas when she discovers he is filming a movie in the same area as her father. An apology and another trip to California may be in the future.

I enjoyed Violet's character as she deals with her life. She has trouble understanding her feelings about her father and mother after the divorce. She loves them, hates them, and doesn't know how to behave around them. She swears she'll never have a boyfriend, but that was before Jean-Paul shows an interest in her. Thing One and Thing Two are giving her a hard time at school, and she snaps when they show Facebook pictures of her mom to her classmates. Hopefully, most girls don't behave the same way as Violet, but girls dealing with divorce can probably appreciate her feelings.

Lexile level from lexile.com 700