Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel
From the publisher:
Lucy knows that kissing Tom Lemmings behind the ball shed will make her a legend. But she doesn’t count on that quick clap of lips propelling her from coolest to lamest fourth grader overnight. Suddenly Lucy finds herself trapped in Dorkdom, where a diamond ring turns your finger green, where the boy you kiss hates you three days later, where your best friend laughs as you cry, where parents seem to stop liking you, and where baby sisters are born different.
Now Lucy has a choice: she can be like her former best friend Becky, who would do anything to claim her seat at the cool table in the cafeteria, or Lucy can pull up a chair among the solo eaters–also known as the dorks. Still unsure, Lucy partners with super quiet Sam Righter on a research project about wolves. Lucy connects her own school hierarchy with what she learns about animal pack life–where some wolves pin down weaker ones just because they can, and others risk everything to fight their given place in the pack. Soon Lucy finds her third option: creating a pack of her own, even if it is simply a pack of dorks.
Weaving tough issues, including bullying, loyalty, and disability, with a thread of snarky humor, family bonds, and fresh perspective, Pack of Dorks paints characters coming-of-age and coming-to-terms. Beth Vrabel’s stellar debut contemporary middle grade novel is sure to please fans of Jack Gantos, Elizabeth Atkinson, and Judy Blume.
Disclaimer: This book is for a little younger audience than I normally read. It is definitely more of an elementary book than a young adult book. I read it with my daughter because it is a Mark Twain Readers Award nominee and she is trying to get as many of the nominees read as possible.
Lucy has a lot going on in her life. Between her first kiss that happens behind the equipment shed at recess and her baby sister being born with Down Syndrome. She is dealing with no longer being the main focus of her parents’ attention and figuring out who her real friends are.
This sounds harsh but I had a hard time liking Lucy. I felt that for her age she seemed naive and in her own little world. My own kids have had some tough family things they have had to go through and what I’ve seen is that kids are pretty resilient. They pick up on much more than we think they do and they adapt to situations pretty easily. I felt like Lucy had her own issues but spent so much time picking apart others. I also wondered what in the world the teachers at her school were doing while half the class went behind the shed to watch kids kiss and other times kids were severely bullies. It lacked a little bit of realism to me.
Halfway through the book, Lucy gets paired up with Sam to work on a project. Although the friendship that Lucy and Sam build, was an important one, I felt like there was a lot of random facts about wolves that really had nothing to do with the story line.
My review, so far, sounds like I didn’t like this book. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good book that covered some rought topics. I’m guessing the fact that I don’t usually read elementary aged chapter books could be why I found the characters to fall a little short. There were several parts in the book that made us laugh out loud and it started some goo discussions in my own house.