Worried about finding friends when she moves from Maine to Maryland, ten-year-old Sarah gets off to a bad start by making an enemy of a boy.
"Gr. 3^-5. Like Salisbury's Jungle Dogs [BKL S 1 98] for older readers, this cheerful middle-grade novel dramatizes the courage it takes not to fight. It's hard enough for Sarah to have to start a new school in fifth grade; what's worse, she has an enemy, Eric, who picks on her and humiliates her in public. Luckily, Sarah also makes a friend, Christina Perez, and they play soccer and have fun, until Sarah's obsession with getting back at Eric takes over her life and nearly destroys her friendship. First-novelist Carbone has a sharp ear for contemporary talk (Sarah's cool, mumbling teenage brother needs a translator: "Kive suma dat?"), and the multicultural cast is a natural part of the story. Sarah's strong teacher, Mr. Harrison, is black. Christina's family, originally from El Salvador, is warm and loving and also sexist. Make no mistake, middle-graders will enjoy the yucky ways that Eric and Sarah gross each other out, but readers will also admire Sarah as she finds the strength to ignore the bully and move on. --Hazel Rochman"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Carbone's (Corey's Story) frank and energetic voice invigorates a common scenario: an elementary school bully gives a new kid a hard time. But readers will cheer rather than pity spunky Sarah. As the story begins, Sarah is riding her bike when she sees a boy on a tricycle in the path of an oncoming truck; to keep him from being hit, she runs her bike into him. No one understands ("I must have stood there for a full five minutes waiting for someone to say, `Cut. Cut. That was terrible. Let's do the scene again, and this time everybody... praise Sarah for saving the little boy's life' "). The child's older brother, Eric, flings derisive remarks at Sarah once school opens, and mild warfare erupts, with plenty of amusing battles. Eventually the fifth-grader learns that seemingly sweet revenge can sourit temporarily costs her the companionship of her new best friend, Christina. Carbone shapes characters with such lifelike dimension and through conversation so true that her story is at once comfortably familiar and entirely novel. Especially funnyand wickedly on targetis the author's phonetic relaying of teen-speak as uttered by Sarah's older brother (when Christina first shows up at their door, he mumbles to his sister that "sumbuy's ear tuh seya"). This middle-grade novel belongs at the head of its class. Ages 8-13. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved