Philomel Books - Middle readers/YA (ages 9-12)
This is becoming a far too typical refrain at Bookfoolery & Babble, but okay . . . sigh . . . I've misplaced my copy of SLOB, so I can't quote from the book and don't have the text to refer to. The good news is that even though I read SLOB several weeks ago, it is certainly a memorable tale.
SLOB is the story of a brilliant, overweight boy named Owen. Owen is fat, but he hasn't always been that way. He has, however, always had a high IQ which he's learned not to brag about. Owen invents things from found objects and he has a very unusual reason for trying to create an invention that will help him view the past -- a specific date in the past.
Being smart and fat is a rough combination. Owen is regularly bullied at school, not only by the other kids in his 7th-grade class, but also by a vicious gym teacher who deliberately humiliates Owen, apparently for his own entertainment. Owen is trying to lose weight, but one of his small joys in life is the three Oreo cookies he gets in his lunch, each day. When his cookies begin to disappear and the container appears untouched, Owen has his suspicions about the most likely culprit. But, then other clues begin to surface after he creates an invention to stop the thief; and, the answer to the Oreo thefts may be even worse than he imagined.
Owen's sister, Jeremy (also known as Caitlin), is a member of a group of girls who have decided to give themselves boy names --Girls Who Are Boys, or GWABs -- and dress up like boys. When I spoke to the author, she said that SLOB is a bit of a departure for her because it's autobiographical in many ways. Ellen Potter once belonged to a group of Girls Who Are Boys and she knew a very brilliant boy much like Owen. Interesting.
As the story unfolds, the reader slowly becomes aware of the terrifying incident Owen and Jeremy lived through and which now shapes their lives. This is one of the things I loved about the book: Ellen Potter did a brilliant job of slowly peeling away the layers of Owen and Jeremy's past to reveal how they've become who they are. And, she did so with tremendous wit, humor and heart.
I absolutely loved this book and gobbled it up within a couple of hours. First and foremost, the story is absolutely hilarious. SLOB is unique in both its plot and storyline. The characters are quirky and fun, the story extraordinarily creative and written with intelligence. You cannot help but fall in love with Owen Birnbaum. He is brilliant and inventive, but even when he's being picked on and could easily fire back in anger, Owen is a person with tremendous inner resources, very clever . . . and he's really, really nice. He treats other people with kindness, even when he's being abused. When I find my copy of SLOB, it's going on the good shelves. It's around here somewhere, maybe having a party with that other book I misplaced.
Highly recommended, a terrific read with enough depth and wit to entertain older readers of YA. There is truly never a dull moment in SLOB.
And, speaking of YA books, there is a tremendous giveaway going on, here:
I've been in a YA mood, lately. I think I mentioned the fact that I whipped through The Dead and The Gone, this past weekend, right? Well, I did. The book hasn't yet made it into my sidebar, but it has a really pretty cover. I think I half wanted to buy a copy for the sake of that nifty green moon cover.
Gossamer by Lois Lowry, The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer, and 50 People Every Christian Should Know by Warren W. Wiersbe.
The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women by Dawn Dais (thanks to Laura)
Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy
If you live in or near Seattle, you can see Simon on Thursday or Friday. Check his tour schedule (that's what I linked to) -- he's headed to Washington, tomorrow, lucky guy. I've always wanted to see Washington. If you go, please tell him Bookfool sent you.
I'm slowly recovering from Blogger Burnout and hope to be back to blog-hopping, soon. I decided I should stay away from the computer as much as possible, and it seems to be helping. But, I'm also getting a little lonely, so I'll be back as soon as possible. Hope everyone is having a terrific week!
Bookfool in Recovery