Author: Mark Goldblatt
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Goodreads rating: 4.14 out of 5.00 (80+ ratings pre-release)
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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.
Review by Chantelle
Um. WHOA! Reading about a 6th grader should not be this captivating... but seriously, my goodness, I couldn't put this book down!
Twerp is written in the form of a journal, a running narrative of 6th grader Julian Twerski who is forced by his English teacher to write about what happened that day with Danley... Instead, Julian or "Twerp" decides to write an account of his life, his friends, his family, just anything but what happened with Danley. It really should not be so absolutely entertaining and absorbing to read about the observations of a pre-teen, but what Goldblatt shows is that those years are ones of tremendous growth and maturation, and also that many many hilarious things happen to you at that stage in life.
I absolutely loved the narrative of Twerp. He's an innocent, witty, intelligent wallflower; he's everybody's friend. He was also the reason I went into uni a zombie the next day because I stupidly started reading this at 11pm (not smart). To procrastinate confessing about what happened with Danley, Twerp writes about everyday situations from playing with his neighbourhood friends, to girls, to the new kid at school, to poetry, to sports, to all these things that you might not take notice of everyday, but who Twerp will show you the little beauties of. Goldblatt writes a very convincing voice, Twerp is such a boy you know - notorious for being a little clueless, a little reckless and utterly competitive. It was effortless to get invested into his story, into his life. The novel was so endearing, and, I believe, it will appeal to all age groups.
Twerp was like a modern Scout; just an observer in the world trying to make sense of it. To me, it's a novel about learning to care, to try hard, to be an active participant in life per say, and realising that you're capable of more. All in all, a spectacular debut into middle grade fiction.
I would basically recommend this book to everyone. Oh hey, look at that, it's my book of the month. Five glowing stars, go read it!!! (please)