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July 2, 2011

Slob by Ellen Potter

Philomel (May 14, 2009)

Summary: Owen Birnbaum is smarter than the average 7th grader- I’m not saying he is a bona fide genius (but he is really, really close). He is also fatter than the average 7th grader. These are both reasons why someone might get picked on. It gets on his nerves, but Owen takes the teasing pretty well- that is until someone starts stealing his daily allotment of three Oreo cookies from his lunch. That is more than he can handle. Suspecting that the culprit is the school’s newest student- switchblade, buck knife carrying Mason Ragg- Owen begins setting traps to catch the cookie thief.

While Owen is trying to solve the case of the great Oreo-knapping, he also has other problems. What in the world is he going to do about his sadistic gym teacher, Mr. Wooly, who has definitely made it his mission to embarrass Owen at every opportunity? Also, Owen has another, even bigger problem that he needs to solve- the problem that may be the end of all his other problems. Will he succeed?

The Good: I love Owen’s voice. He is smart, a little sarcastic, and charming. Also, as smart as he is, Owen is naive in many ways. As a reader, I see things about him that he cannot see for himself. That innocence makes him incredibly lovable. I also like that throughout the story you get to see many angles to each of the characters. The book is filled with twists and turns that keep the story interesting. Halfway through the book I thought I had it figured out and then the roller coaster began!

The Bad: I really did like this book. It was a quick read for me and it was interesting. I honestly can’t think of anything that I would consider a negative. This was a fun and interesting book to read.

The Ugly: Like “Red Blazer Girls,” there really aren’t any major issues that  feel need to be disclosed in this book. Owen does get bullied by his classmates and by his gym teacher (ugh…Mr. Wooly is pretty darn awful), and that could be bothersome, but there is nothing that makes this inappropriate reading material.

The Awesome: As you read this book, you Owen unfolds (in the words of Shrek- like an onion). He is a much more complex character than he first appears. I love that Owen tries to take control of his own problems and I love that he learns not to judge people based on his first impression.

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