This Again?

Little, Brown. Apr. 2024. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316553186.
Gr 3-7–Noah Nicholson has his future all mapped out, and it’s a bright one. All he has to do is win the election for eighth grade class president, start acing his pre-algebra course, and become as popular and successful as his older brother Paul. This, he believes, will put him on the path to glory in high school, Harvard acceptance, and a brilliant career in physics, just like both of his college professor parents. He has eight days, plenty of nervous energy, and a time-traveling version of his future self to guide him. How hard can it be? The answer to that question drives the underlying premise of a charming new middle grade speculative fiction that delivers some genuine feel-good moments along with some not-so-subtle lessons about the importance of being oneself, the value of true friends and supportive families, and the serious problems of temporal manipulation. Its hopeful exuberance in the face of junior high angst is reminiscent of Judy Blume, its quirky high jinks evoke the works of Louis Sachar.
VERDICT Despite being a bit zany, this novel strikes a tone that is both nostalgic and fresh. Recommended for middle school collections.

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