Review: It Wasn’t Me by Dana Alison Levy

It Wasn't Me by Dana Alison Levy.jpg

It Wasn’t Me by Dana Alison Levy (9781524766450)

When Theo’s photographs are vandalized at school, he and five other seventh graders spend their spring break doing a Justice Circle. Theo is angry that he has to spend time with the people who may have ruined his photos but also scared that that person targeted him enough to also spoil his pinpoint camera project the next day. But as the Justice Circle works, the five of them discover ways to make new connections: sock puppets, yoga-ball soccer, and lots of candy. Still, as the end of the week nears, no one has confessed to being the vandal and Theo is getting more and more stressed. When one more of his projects is ruined that week, he is convinced he knows the perpetrator. But does he?

Levy’s middle-grade novel cleverly mirrors The Breakfast Club and yet also takes the format in a different direction by adding a mystery. Readers will quickly make assumptions about the different teens themselves. Was it the jock? The weirdo? The goody-goody? The invisible kid? The screwup? One of them has to be the culprit. Still, as the week goes on, readers will question those initial opinions and learn that there is more to each of the characters than a single label.

Strongly written and compellingly paced, this novel is a fascinating look at how justice can be done in a school setting without the use of detentions or suspensions. It asks readers to look deeply at the characters, to join Theo on his journey of learning about the others. As the characters reveal more about themselves, they become all the more human and interesting, and they might just become friends too.

A great novel about the complexities of being a seventh grader and the truths you hide. Appropriate for ages 10-13.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Delacorte Books for Young Readers.

Publisher’s Weekly Best Picture Books

PW has released their list of the Best Children’s and YA Books of 2018. They represent the top 50 books of the year out of the 1700 children’s and YA books published in 2018 that PW reviewed. Here are their picks for the best picture books:

 

34362953 Carmela Full of Wishes

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson

The Crocodile and the Dentist The Day You Begin

The Crocodile and the Dentist by Taro Gomi

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Dreamers The Elephant

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

The Elephant by Jenni Desmond

36761866 Fox & Chick: The Party: and Other Stories

The Eye That Never Sleeps: How Detective Pinkerton Saved President Lincoln by Marissa Moss, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes

Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Hello Lighthouse Julián Is a Mermaid

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Kitten and the Night Watchman Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Julia Sarda

The Patchwork Bike The Rabbit Listened

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke, illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year Stumpkin

Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year edited by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Thank You, Omu! Up the Mountain Path

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Up the Mountain Path by Marianne Dubuc

The Wall in the Middle of the Book

The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee