The Reckless Club

256p. Running Pr. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780762490400.
Gr 5–7—In this middle school take on The Breakfast Club, five barely acquainted students are serving detention, each for a last-day-of-school transgression none of the others nor readers know about, by helping out at a nursing home on the last day of summer vacation before they enter high school. Each is assigned to an elderly resident and, in alternating chapters, their personalities and issues are revealed along with those of their assignees, even as they create mayhem, Keystone-cops fashion, by targeting and pursuing a nurse they suspect of stealing. Further, they are charged with creating and presenting a skit and writing an essay on what they learned, a tall order for one day. Chapter headings and physical descriptions set the characters up as types: Jason, "The Nobody"; Rex, "The Rebel"; Lilith, "The Drama Queen"; Wes, "The Flirt" and Ally, "The Athlete." Much of the narrative reads like stage direction, but personalities and setting are sufficiently authentic. Readers will recognize and identify with some of the students' situations and will be interested to learn just what wrongdoing each is guilty of and what their principal had in mind by bringing them together for such an unusual "punishment."
VERDICT A five-problem novel that entertains and provides some life lessons.

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