How did I get it?:
Net Galley- thanks to Random House (Children’s)
Julian Twerski isn’t a bully. He’s just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade–blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he’s still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can’t bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.
I have really mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to have more of an anti-bullying message. It did address the issue of bullying, and indeed the unintentional bully inside us all. It was just not addressed in the way I expected it to be. Despite this I did enjoy Twerp.
Julian Twerski returns to school after a week long suspension from a bullying incident. He is given the opportunity to write a journal instead of writing a report on Julius Caesar. Julian’s English teacher wants him to write about the event that led to his suspension. Julian finds himself enjoying writing about his daily struggles at school but he doesn’t want to write about what he did. Julian’s journal speaks about his life, his friends, his first date until finally discussing participating in bullying a mentally disabled boy.
As I mentioned, I wish there was more of an emphasis on anti-bullying. Julian does become remorseful for his actions, but I wish it didn’t take him so long, because for most of the book the incident isn’t mentioned. Now, this could be intentional, perhaps Julian felt too uncomfortable to deal with what he had done. I did find Julian’s voice incredibly mature for a sixth grader, although I know he was ‘gifted’ it seemed very adult.
Twerp is a humorous read with very easy to read short stories from Julian. I think Twerp would appeal to adults as well as middle grade children.
Would I recommend it?:
The Man Who Rained- Ali Shaw