Eddie Whatever

Carolrhoda. Nov. 2021. 264p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781541579187.
Gr 4-7–Eddie needs a service project for his upcoming bar mitzvah, and his mom isn’t taking no for an answer when she signs him up to do twice-weekly visits to the seniors (whom he calls “oldsters”) at the Silver Brook residential facility. He never expected to actually develop friendships with the residents, run into gangsters, hear stories of the Holocaust, or go searching for ghosts. But then Tessa, the girl he wishes was his girlfriend, agrees to complete her service project at Silver Brook; now he’s in it for the long haul. At least, until he’s accused of making off with the residents’ valuables and is banned from the premises. What can he do to clear his name and get his senior friends to trust him again? Ruby has come up with a winning and unexpected combination of mystery, intrigue, and social commentary, interlaced with wisecracks and school woes. Eddie’s middle school voice is spot-on, his love of baseball will appeal to sports fans, and his bar mitzvah preparation will enlighten younger readers who are unfamiliar with the ceremony.
VERDICT Although there’s a lot crammed into this fun and funny story, the frenetic pace of Eddie’s life will appeal to readers, and his good heart and eventual friendship with the seniors at Silver Brook are heartwarming. Recommended for libraries serving tweens and early teens.

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