Monday, August 19, 2013

The Fourth Stall, Part II by Chris Rylander

The Fourth Stall Part IIThis book is the sequel to The Fourth Stall, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Students visit Max in the fourth stall of an unused bathroom in the school and tell him their problems. Max is usually able to find a way to help them, for a price. Max and his friends are trying to earn money for World Series tickets, in case the team ever makes it there. The main conflicts that come to Max in this book are: the school food is not healthy, animal droppings are being found in lockers, a teacher gives a cute eighth-grader detentions for no reason, and a new assistant principal has arrived to stop all of the "funny business" at the school. Then, there is an announcement that the students will be taking the SMARTs in the next couple of weeks, state standardized tests, and rumor has it that the school may be shut down immediately if the scores aren't high enough. All of these problems appear to have started about the same time, the eight grader's story has holes in it, and the assistant principal has a target aimed at Max.

What I like most about the plot is how the author can take common school problems and make them into an interesting story. Testing, lunches, and teachers are on most students' minds. It was surprising how the author was able to create suspense in such a common setting. I also enjoy Max's character. He's not super smart, super strong, or super anything, but he's always trying to help his schoolmates. Despite using some dishonest tactics, he has morality and tries to do the right thing.

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