I don’t normally review “middle grade” books on this blog, but I just HAD to make an exception. Not only is this book written by my friend Eric Luper, but it has a character named after me. Seriously! Ms. Morrison, the Children’s Librarian, is actually based on me! (Despite my lack of blue hair.) Thank you Eric for making me “the cool one,” and for immortalizing the night of the karaoke disaster. I’m so glad we can both look back on it and laugh!
Jeremy Bender and his best friend, Slater, seem like pretty average tween boys at the outset of this story. But then, something terrible happens… They knock over a soda, and it spills into the engine of Mr. Bender’s boat! When Jeremy asks Slater to throw him a can of degreaser, he ends up with a can of spray paint — and he doesn’t notice until AFTER he has sprayed it into the engine! Now, the boys have two options. They can tell the truth, or they can try to come up with enough money to replace the engine before boating season begins. Guess which option they decide to run with?
On a trip to their local public library, the boys see a flier for the model sailboat tournament called the Windjammer Whirl. As soon as Jeremy saw that there was a $500 cash prize, he became determined to enter. When Slater noticed that the race was sponsored by the Cupcake Cadets (think Girl Scouts), he began to question Jeremy’s sanity. Jeremy insisted, though, that this was the only way they would be able to get the money to replace that engine. And, so, the deception begins.
This book reminds me of an 80′s sitcom [starring Tom Hanks!] called Bosom Buddies — hence the image at the beginning of the post. You keep thinking that people MUST know these are not really girls… that they would surely recognize Jeremy and Slater if they looked them in the face. And yet, their comical misadventures are crazy enough that you’ll gladly suspend disbelief to find out what happens next. If you want to know whether Jeremy and Slater [or should I call them Jenna and Samantha?] get away with their ruse, you will have to read it for yourself. The book will be out in April of 2011, but people who know me can borrow my ARC if they ask nicely. (And maybe bring me cupcakes!)