5 out of 5!
Reggie has big dreams for his school, but Clarke Junior School isn’t stepping up. His classmates are more interested in helping themselves than helping each other, and besides, nobody listens to Reggie anyway after an unfortunate incident on the first day of school left him with the nickname “Pukey.” With help from his best friends, Ruthie and Joe C., and the residents of a local homeless shelter where his youth group volunteers, Reggie sets out to change Clarke and change himself. Ideally without any more puking.
I fell in love with this book on page 4, when Ruthie prefaces her current events report in class thusly:
“Because of the American media’s obvious bias, I used seventeen different global news sources — including the Madagascar Weekly — to put my report together.”
Ruthie is my hero. As is Reggie, as is Olugbemisola R-P for writing this fantastic book. These are hilarious, brave, real kids who I miss since I finished their story. This book manages to be an honest, well-rounded friendship story, family story, political story, and coming-of-age. It even discusses religion without being preachy or about disillusionment. Reggie is never in danger of losing his faith, but he’s always considering what it means. None of the spheres of Reggie’s life are neglected or one-dimensional — a pretty stunning feat for such a zippy book.
Not only that, it stars recognizably urban kids with urban kid problems (including money) who will be relatable for well-off suburban kids. (At least, so I suspect — I’ll let you know after I start pushing this on my own well-off suburban kids.) Finding a book whose appeal straddles those worlds is so rare.