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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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ARC Review: Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Author: Mark Goldblatt
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

"A vivid, absorbing story about one boy’s misadventure, heartache, and hope for himself." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me

It's not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . .

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 terrible 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.

Inspired by Mark Goldblatt's own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with humor and heart. This remarkably powerful story will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley. My review is not influenced in any way.

     In the 1960s of Queens, New York, 6th grader Julian Twerski takes an incident too far with his group of friends and gets suspended as a result. He's asked by his English teacher to write a journal about the incident just to get out of writing a report. Instead, he writes about other incidents because he isn't really ready to talk about the incident that gets him a suspension.
     Julian and his group of friends, Lonnie, Quentin, Sholomo, Eric and Howie, tend to get away with a lot of pranks after doing them. I love how Goldblatt writes Julian's life in a very realistic way that Twerp reminds me a lot of my 6th grade year in some way. It's pretty dramatic, with people holding grudges longer than necessary and when you look back, it somehow just reminds of some decisions where there was more than just one route... I feel pretty naive looking back now. If I could go back in time and rethink things through, there are just some things I probably wouldn't have done, even if I don't get in trouble for it.
     Twerp is basically about taking responsibility for your actions. When you mess up terribly, sometimes apologizing is the right thing to do to make up for your actions (and sometimes, even apologizing doesn't work).
     While I can't go back in time myself to rethink awkward/funny moments and situations, I'm really glad Julian finally realizes how far he took the incident and con fesses about what really happened instead of lying just to get out of it. I'm also really glad that he convinces his friends that what they did was wrong and they should, at the least, apologize about the incident. It's nice to know that after evaluating the situation and actions, it lifts a burden off someone's shoulders.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Owls

~Happy Reading!


Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.