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Author: Mark Goldblatt

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Publisher: Random House, 2013

Material: Galley

Summary: Julian Twerski is so happy to be getting out of the Julius Caesar project. He hates writing, but writing a journal for Mr.Selkirk is oh-so-worth it. ANYTHING is better than trying to understand Shakespeare. As surprised as he is that he actually likes writing, he is shocked to discover that not only can he understand William Shakespeare but he likes it! As Julian soon discovers - and we follow along in that journal - studying Shakespeare is not as horrible as losing his best friend over a girl, being used by said girl, and having to defend his title as the fastest runner in school against the really fast new kid (who turns out to be a really good guy). This is a humorous look at sixth grade from one boy's perspective.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 9 and Up

Interest Level: 10 to 13

Reading Level: 4.5

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: Twerp brought back some memories! I remember coming to very similar conclusions about William Shakespeare when we had to study his work in high school. The author did a superb job weaving in literary analysis and yet staying true to Julian and the story. This is realistic fiction at its best - totally accessible to a broad range of readers.

Pros: Humor and nostalgia combine in this rites-of-passage story told by its central character, a sixth grade boy.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Twerps is a book the kids will likely pass around.

If You Liked This Book, Try: Eggplant Alley FIREGIRL   HOW TO TWIST A DRAGON'S TALE (How to Train Your Dragon series)   THE JULIET CLUB

Educational Themes: Although this book is meant to read for fun, there are several opportunities to talk about choices and consequences, friendship, and bullying.

Notes: The publisher donated an advance review copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - friendship,1960s, humor, coming of age, realistic fiction

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2013

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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