Directed by Robin Mellom, Filmed by Stephen Gilpin
Disney-Hyperion Books, 2012
Reviewed from personal copy.
In 2012, a documentary crew descended upon Westside Middle School to detail the life of an average seventh grader and his classmates.
What they uncovered, though, was far from average. Mostly, it was upper average along with moments of extreme average, highlighted by several minutes of total epicness.
This is the story...Trevor Jones--perfect attendance award recipient, former neurotic (he hopes)--has been preparing for the start of seventh grade his entire summer.But he is NOT ready for the news his best friend, Libby (proud neurotic, in a color-coding sort of way), drops on him: he must ask a girl to the fall dance. By the end of the day.
Trevor decides he would rather squirt hot sauce in his eyes than attend the dance. Everything changes when he meets mysterious new student Molly (excessive doodler, champion of unnatural hair colors). Trevor starts to think that going to the dance maybe wouldn't be the worst thing ever. But what if she says no to his invitation? More important, what if she says yes?!
There have been many books of this nature since Diary of a Wimpy Kid came out. Some I have enjoyed, some not so much. I quite enjoyed this one. Maybe since Trevor is a good kid, a bit clueless, but a good kid. When his friend, Libby informs him that he must have a date to the 7th grade dance before the first day of school ends, he has no idea what she has in mind. He is even more confused when she tells him that they can no longer be 'friend' friends (best friends). They have been best friends since kindergarten and Trevor has no idea what Libby is talking about. Things get worse when Trevor has an unpleasant encounter with the school Don Juan, Corey Long. How can Trevor survive his first day of school? Maybe the new girl, Molly might provide a solution.
I immediately felt a connection to Trevor, maybe because in junior high I also was pretty clueless about the new social order of things. Trevor tries his best to be a friend and a good student while wrestling with things that most teenagers wrestle with including crushes and bullies. The format was fun as well, with the 'interviews' and illustrations. This kind of format is very kid friendly. I recommend this book to all who enjoy an underdog facing his fears and standing up for his friends.
Head on over to Shannon Messenger's blog for more great middle grade reads.