Returning after a week-long suspension from his 1960s Queens school, Julian accepts an offer from his English teacher to keep a journal and writes about the incident, which involved blowing up homemade fireworks, maintaining his record as the fastest kid in school and writing a disastrous love letter for a friend. - (Baker & Taylor)
It's not like I meant for him to get hurt. . . .
Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.
Inspired by Mark Goldblatt's own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with humor and heart. This remarkably powerful story will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.
Praise for Twerp:
A Bankstreet Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A Summer Top Ten Kids’ Indie Next List Pick
A Sunshine State Award Finalist
“Reminiscent of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. . . . You don’t have to be a twerp to read this book.” —New York Post
“A vivid, absorbing story about one boy’s misadventure, heartache, and hope for himself.” —Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me
“Mark Goldblatt is an amazingly wonderful writer.” —Chris Grabenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
“[Fans of] Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid who have matured beyond the scope and gravity of that series will find a kindred spirit in Julian.” —School Library Journal
“Reminiscent of movies like The Sandlot. . . . Well-written and funny.” —The Advocate
“Alternately poignant and comical. . . . A thought-provoking exploration of bullying, personal integrity and self-acceptance.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A timely book.” —New York Journal of Books
“Elegant in its simplicity and accessibility.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“An empathetic and authentic glimpse into the mind of a sixth-grade boy.” —The Florida Times-Union
“Funny, poignant, and an effective commentary on bullying and its consequences.” —The Horn Book Magazine - (Random House, Inc.)
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Adult author Goldblatt (Africa Speaks) makes his children's book debut with a coming-of-age novel set in 1969, a mix of awkward adolescent stumbling, pockets of sweetness, and oft-used tropes. Sixth-grader Julian Twerski has returned from a school suspension and accepted a deal to write a journal for his English class about what he did. As Julian avoids talking about the actual act of bullying that got him in trouble, he recounts the events of the semester in journal entries. These adventures follow the formula for the genre, ranging from uncomfortable first kisses and dates to extracurricular shenanigans (often accompanied by injuries of varied severity); an early sequence about the death of a bird is among the novel's best and most moving segments. The crucial moment of bullying, although appalling, doesn't quite live up to its buildup, and the familiar "bully forced to keep a journal" concept is somewhat clichéd. Occasional cultural reference aside, the historical setting doesn't contribute a great deal to the story, but Julian's anecdotes are entertaining and Goldblatt's characters well-written. Ages 9–12. Agent: Scott Gould, RLR Associates. (May)
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