My Life As a Book
by Tashjian, Janet






Dubbed a "reluctant reader" by his teacher, 12-year-old Derek Fallon spends summer vacation at Learning Camp, learning important lessons even though he does not complete his summer reading list. By the author of The Gospel According to Larry.





Janet Tashjian is the author of acclaimed books for young adults, including The Gospel According to Larry, Vote for Larry, Fault Line, and Multiple Choice. Disney adapted Tru Confessions into a television movie starring Clara Bryant and Shia LaBeouf. Tashjian studied at the University of Rhode Island and Emerson College. She lives in Needham, Massachusetts, with her family.





*Starred Review* Twelve-year-old Derek is not a reader. His assignment to read three books over the summer stinks. But then something that he wants to read catches Derek‚??s eye. In the attic, he finds a 10-year-old article about a teenage girl who drowned on a Martha‚??s Vineyard beach. When he questions his mother about the article, her nervousness tells him something‚??s up, so he takes on the assignment of discovering what happened on the beach that day and why it‚??s important. Janet Tashjian, known for her young adult books, offers a novel that‚??s part Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007),part intriguing mystery; yet the best element here is really the first-person voice, which captures so completely the pushes and pulls in the life of someone with learning disabilities. Derek is brash, careless, and usually willing to do something stupid. He is also bright, a talented artist, and smart enough to know when he has gone too far. Adding to the book‚??s effectiveness is a generous typeface that looks like printing and artwork by the author‚??s 14-year-old son, Jake. Like the story‚??s narrator, he uses stick figures to illustrate vocabulary words, and here they march down the margins. Some are simple depictions, like a handful of flowers for the word bouquet. Some take more thought: a sad face moving to a happier one for adapt. Give this to kids who think they don‚??t like reading. It might change their minds. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.





Twelve-year-old Derek—a notoriously reluctant reader of everything but Calvin and Hobbes—would rather set the grass on fire with his sister's old sunlamp than tackle his summer reading list. More than that, though, he wants to figure out why his mom's acting so weird about the ten-year-old article he found from a Martha's Vineyard newspaper entitled "LOCAL GIRL FOUND DEAD ON BEACH." That mystery threads throughout this engaging middle-grade novel, told in a dryly hilarious first-person voice. Words like "impulse" and "discipline" are illustrated Pictionary-style by the author's teenage son, mirroring Derek's vocabulary-building technique: "My parents insist I use this system all the time, so I usually pretend I'm a spy being tortured by Super Evildoers who force me to practice 'active reading' or be killed by a foreign assassin." When he's not making avocado grenades, the smart-alecky Derek reveals himself as an endearing softy who loves his friends, family and dog and is even capable, in time, of befriending—horrors!—the class goody-goody. A kinder, gentler Wimpy Kid with all the fun and more plot. (Fiction. 10-14)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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