Eating your way through high school

In a world of flashing television screens and internet news that comes before the actual event is finished, the subtle is often overlooked.  Which is why SCBWI’s Sid Fleischman Humor Award is so refreshing.  SCBWI is a horrid acronym that stands for the “Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators”.  The Sid Fleishman Humor Award honors the author of the same name, known for books that were both humorous and poignant.  My latest read was the 2010 winner, and I definitely understand why.  It’s not funny-ha-ha, or LOL funny, but it’s definitely a funny book.  A really well-written funny book with a strong, character with a great humorous tone and a good message for its readers.  So thank you SCBWI for honoring this book so that we would all know about it, and thank you Allen Zadoff, for writing it in the first place.

Title: Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have
Author: Allen Zadoff
Genre: Fiction
Age: Middle School and High School (book takes place in a High School)

Summary and Review:

Andy is an overweight–read really overweight–sophomore who doesn’t see a lot of upsides to his life.  His dad ignores him while his mom, a caterer who tries to get him to eat less (while getting his skinny sister to eat more), overprotects him.  His best friend is his model UN partner and he is picked on, shoved, or overlooked by most of the rest of the school.  Until he is not.

One day he does the impossible–makes friends with the star football player and, on what seems like a whim, tries out for the football team.  He starts living the high school equivalent of the high life–with parties, girls, and football player friends.  But just when you are about to put the book down because it all seems so unreasonable, the dreams begin to unravel.  There’s his mom, who never signed the permission slip for him to play and yanks him off the team when she finds out.  There’s the girl he loves but might be dating someone else.  And there’s the football players he thought were his friends.  But are they?

The book is at once sweet, funny, and a rich portrayal of high school.  At its heart, it’s a book about being true to who you really are.

Follow-up with the kids:

This book strings you along for quite some time in the fantasy-like atmosphere of the popular realm.  I think it would be great to talk to your kids when they are still being strung along, talk about the changes that Andy makes when he joins the football team and why they’ve been good or bad for him.  And then find out if they still feel that way in the end.  My guess is that a lot of teens and preteens who read this book won’t necessarily love the ending.  They might not understand the decisions that Andy makes.  Having that conversation with them would be an important step in understanding who your child is, where they fit into the crazy social strata of high school, and what hopes and dreams they might be harboring–dreams that might show them more heartbreak than happiness if they were to really come true.  Andy is a great character who gives us a fun ride through his high school days.  He’s a fun guy to spend time with, an as a result, so is this book.

4 Comments to “Eating your way through high school”

  1. Sounds like an intersting book. We just finished “A Crooked Kind of Perfect.” This may have to be next on the list. Thanks for the review.

    • Glad you liked “Kind of Perfect”. I’m really looking forward to more from that author. Hope you enjoy the next one if you read it. It is more YA so there’s a little bit of talk about sex and some drinking but pretty mild as far as YA goes…I realize I forgot to out that in the post.

      Wendy Lawrence Kidlitblog.wordpress.com Wendylawrence.org

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Wendy,

    I found you and your blog through Twitter 🙂

    As I read this post it reminded me of the movie “Can’t Buy Me Love”. That was one of my favorite movies growing up, and one I intend to share with my twins when they are older. I’m SO GLAD there is a book out there that we can read first that follows some of the same storylines and principals.

    My twins are only five, but I’m a planner 🙂

    Christi Corbett
    http://christicorbett.wordpress.com

    • Awesome! I haven’t thought about that movie in awhile, but ah yes, that was a classic! Hope you enjoy some of the book ideas on my blog, whether for now or when they are a little older. Just checked out your blog and love it. As a “pantster” myself, I enjoyed that post very much. 🙂 Just subscribed, and looking forward to more!

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