Payback on Poplar Lane

5 CDs. 6:23 hrs. Listening Library. Jan. 2018. $45. ISBN 9780525531517. digital download.
Gr 4–6—Peter Gronkowski has spent most of his 12 years maintaining his entrepreneurial social status, giving himself titles of founder, CEO, CFO, and COO of Peter Presents. After Peter chooses his neighbor Rachel "the Puppet" Chambers to be his unpaid intern, he selfishly claims Rachel's profitable idea as his own. Rachel quits and becomes Peter's primary competition. Their rivalry creates disastrous results until they discover that "winning feels good until you're winning for the wrong reasons." Narrators Monika Felice Smith and Christopher Gebauer skillfully capture the array of Rachel and Peter's emotions, as well as the well-rounded secondary characters.
VERDICT Mincks's novel is perfectly layered with humor, tension, and adversity and reaffirms that true friendship is golden. Listeners will eagerly await the sequel.

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