Slob by Ellen Potter
Owen is the butt of everyone’s jokes. Other kids make farting noises when he passes and he’s not sure if a suggestion to get a fat exemption from gym class was meant nicely or cruelly. Now someone is stealing Owen’s one pleasure in life: the three Oreo cookies he is allowed each day. Owen is also working on Nemesis, a television that will show the past. And he has one specific day in mind that he has to see. But things are getting out of hand. Owen is being bullied by his gym teacher, his best friend might just be turning on him, and his little sister belongs to a group that has her dressing in boys clothes and insisting on being known as Jeremy. Owen has tried sitting still and not reacting to things, perhaps it’s time to take a different approach.
Potter has written a pitch-perfect novel of the miseries of middle-school. Filled with sarcasm and lots of humor, the story is filled with intriguing characters, believable and unique. Each character including the adults has a small memorable feature that is part of the story. The mystery of the missing cookies may take center stage in my synopsis, but the book is far more about relationships, anger, revenge and heroism. All of which make this funny book deeper than most.
The characterization here is so strong that readers will have no trouble with the rather large cast of characters. Owen is a traumatized boy whose life slowly is revealed to the reader. Jeremy is a savvy take on a girl who wants to be in control but can’t figure out how. Nima, the Buddhist who lives in Owen’s building, adds a vehicle for Owen to begin to question his way of life. It all comes together into a wonderful mix of great people all seen through Owen’s wry lens.
Appropriate for ages 11-13, this book has a winning cover and its humor will have readers sharing it with friends. A must-have for middle school libraries everywhere.