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Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Losers Club, by Andrew Clements. Random House, 2017. $22.99 ages 10 and up

"Alec started to read, and just as his dad had promised, Bradbury's writing grabbed him and didn't let go. The story took place at a school on the planet Venus. All the kids were excited because, for the first time in their lives, the sun was going to shine in the sky for a whole day. There was a girl named Margot who had been born on Earth and could still remember what sunshine was like ... "

I read a lot of books. One of the ways I know how much I liked a novel is in how much I remember about it. I read this one a while ago. I know that Andrew Clements is a popular writer for many middle years kids. I have read a number of his awesome books for this age group, and I happy to tell you about his latest one. I remember every scene.

Alec loves books; he is often reading when he should be listening in class. This causes trouble at home and at school. It is a perennial complaint from his teachers. His reading has led to an insular life where nothing is more important than the books he loves. His principal warns that if his behavior doesn't improve, he is destined for a summer course following his sixth grade year. Now that his parents have to commute to work, he and his younger brother are enrolled in an after school program where silent reading is not an option. Or could it be? In hopes of forming a club that no one else will join, yet will allow Alec time to read, he suggests The Losers Club to the supervising teachers. What surprises him is that others DO want to join!

As more and more students join his club, Alec finds himself spending after school time with new friends and even some old ones. He likes meeting others who also love to read. No longer content to hide behind the pages of a book, his life changes for the better. There is a bully, there is a touch of romance, and there are characters to be admired and remembered.

Funny and thoughtful, this would be a great read aloud book for a middle years classroom. Added bonus is a list of all the mentioned books that Alec and the 'losers' are reading. 

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