Slob by Ellen Potter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ellen Potter's SLOB is an excellent example of classic MG literature. This story has all of the necessary components for success: a put-upon-yet-heroic MC, a spunky set of secondary characters, a questionable villain, and a heart-wrenching mystery tying everything together.
From the opening pages, twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum tells his story with the kind of frank, matter-of-fact voice that middle grade does so well. Potter gives Owen's voice a great twist, pairing intelligence with physical limitation. Owen is fat--57% fatter than the national average. And he doesn't shy away from telling us about it. Although it takes reading his story to learn why he's come to be this way.
As Owen navigates his daily life (which is torturous at times), we learn more and more about him, until we're cheering for him to beat the gym-teacher who's really a bully at heart, and to figure out who's stealing his oreos every single day, and to find a way to make his invention work--a TV that can show the past, which is his only chance at solving a terrible mystery.
As much as I appreciated the layers of complexity in this story, and the funny goofy bits that rang so true of that age, most of all, I enjoyed getting to know Owen. And I'm sure you will, too. He's a classic.
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