Surviving Middle School: Navigating the Halls, Riding the Social Roller Coaster, and Unmasking the Real You

192p. filmog. further reading. notes. websites. S. & S./Aladdin. Jul. 2016. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781582705552; pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781582705545.
Gr 5–8—Former middle school teacher Reynolds has turned his love of garlic bread into an excellent and engaging treatise on life aimed at the "Wimpy Kid" generation. He begins with a hilariously rose-colored recounting of his own first day at middle school. Traitorously truthful members of his family chime in with the real story and allow readers to sympathize and relate. Each chapter is dedicated to a serious issue facing middle school students. Reynolds uses age-appropriate metaphors to get his message across, including space gnomes (forces fighting against kids) and garlic bread (adolescents' true inner selves). The author covers issues such as insecurity and self-confidence and provides a simple list of "stuff" to help navigate life successfully. Sprinkled throughout the book are pertinent quotes by famous people designed to inspire. Goofy black-and-white illustrations add to the kid-appeal.
VERDICT Thoughtful, humorous, and filled with practical advice and insight, this book is recommended for all libraries.

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