Random House, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Lyn Seippel
welve-year-old Julian Twerski is involved in an incident that results in a week long suspension from school. When he returns, his English teacher offers a deal. If he writes a journal and includes the incident that got him suspended, he can skip the class assignment of an essay on William Shakespeare. Julian would do anything to avoid Shakespeare so he agrees. The result is a hilarious journal of Julian's sixth grade adventures. The setting takes place in the sixties and is inspired by the author's own childhood in Queens.
ulian and his best friend Lonnie often find themselves in trouble. From pitching rocks at pigeons to setting a friend on fire while setting off fireworks. Julian usually follows along when Lonnie comes up with a scheme. If he later regrets it, he doesn't blame Lonnie. By that time, he's convinced himself to agree to whatever mischief they've gotten into even if he began as a reluctant participant. Julian's journal tells it like it happened, but he has trouble getting to the story his teacher wants to hear.
ne of the funniest incidents involves Lonnie's crush on a classmate named Jillian. He convinces Julian, who is a good writer, to write Jillian an anonymous letter so he can gage how she might feel if he approached her. Of course Jillian thinks the letter is from Julian although he is careful to tell her it's not. She likes the idea of Julian and Jillian. Getting her to notice Lonnie isn't easy now that she thinks Julian likes her.
he beginning of this book, which involves the pigeons, almost caused me to put it down. I'm glad I didn't. Even with the pigeon incident, it's easy to see that Julian is a good kid.
is filled with funny, sweet characters. You can't help but love them all. Even Lonnie, although he frequently manages to lead Julian astray.
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