Loser by Jerry Spinelli
Published in 2003
Some other books by Spinelli:
Smiles to Go
Fourth Grade Rats
Space Station Seventh Grade
The Hook: The book follows the childhood of Donald Zinkoff, a misfist of sorts. When a girl goes missing in a snowstorm, Zinkoff is determined to find her before it's too late.
Why I love this book: Style and characters. This book is textbook on middle grade voice and style. You can really feel the emotions and perspective of the character Donald Zinkoff. Zinkoff is one of my favorite characters in Middle Grade fiction. Why? In my church, I volunteer to help the sunday school classes of kids age 3-11. In my service I've seen many kids (both boys and girls) that match this character. This book feels like a perspective into their world and my heart aches for them.
I would encourage kids 10+ to read this book so they can get a glimpse into the world of kids like Zinkoff and gain perspective, sensitivity, and compassion toward the kids they know. They just need a friend and want to be included.
My oldest is eight and I have this book in her TBR pile but not for a little bit. She still believes in magic and the book demystifies certain holidays. I would recommend this to upper middle graders and I think it is a great book for boys. Girls will like this book too but it will be harder to hold their interest. Stargirl would be a better but similar recommendation for girls.
Were you a Zinkoff/Stargirl as a kid?
Jr High was definitely an adjustment for me. In a time when it was cool to wear two pairs of matching socks with every outfit, I was made fun of because my white socks weren't doubled or matchers. Oh the silly things we remember.