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