What It Is About: Can two outcasts come together and make school a pleasant place to be? Ravi and Joe sure hope so. Joe has lived in the same town and attended the same school his whole life. During the start of fifth grade, school is different because Joe's two best friends have left him on his own. Ravi has just moved to America from India. He was a star student and athlete in India. Ravi finds things are not the same at his new school as they were back home. Both boys are on their own, and also "targets" of the class bully. At first Ravi thinks the bully is going to be his "friend", but Joe knows better because he has had a long history with him. Each boy must fend for themselves, but may come to learn that two are better than one.
What I Thought Of It: As a reader, I can always tell if a novel is going to be a "hit" with me within the first few pages. That is exactly what happened with this story. I was drawn in on the very first page and really couldn't put it down until I was done. The plot was first-rate and quite different from other middle-grade stories on this same topic. Ravi and Joe were unique, strong, and likable characters. The authors did a wonderful job of describing what it is like for a new student from another country and for a student that doesn't fit in because of a disability. The book was set up by days of the week and what was being served during lunch at school. Everything about this novel is perfect for the middle-grade reader.
Who Should Read It: I'm hoping that I have enough time this year to share this story with my fourth grade class. If not, I will for sure be using next fall either as a read aloud and/or a "Breakfast with Books" book club selection. The reading level and format are perfect for the third, fourth, fifth, or sixth grade reader. The chapters are short and the readability is awesome for the middle-grade readers. If you have read other works by Sarah Weeks, then you must experience her newest novel. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars