Review of Twerp by Mark Goldblatt


Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Age Range: 9 – 12 years

Grade Level: 4 – 7

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 28, 2013)

Series: None

Genre: Historical fiction

Source: I received a digital galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

A good book about a bad deed. Think Wonder meets Stand by Me in this warm and accessible literary middle-grade novel. Perfect for fans of Jerry Spinelli, Jennifer L. Holm, and Rebecca Stead.

It’s not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . .

Julian Twerski isn’t a bully. He’s just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade–blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he’s still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can’t bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.

Inspired by Mark Goldblatt’s own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with powerful writing that will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.

About the Author:

MARK GOLDBLATT is a lot like Julian Twerski, only not as interesting. He’s a widely published columnist, a novelist, and a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Twerp is his first book for younger readers. He lives in New York City.

My Thoughts:

Being a boy is no walk in the park. Learning to be a better boy even harder.  Julian has something hanging over his head. He refuses to acknowledge it, but it’s there. He writes stories for his English teacher in order to get out of writing a book report on Julius Caesar. Through these stories we get to know Julian, his friends, their lives, and their mistakes.

Twerp is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. The author’s sense of humor is a beautiful thing. He completely understands what it is to be a boy, with all the ups and downs and sideways.  He gives us the chance to see the world through a twelve year old boy’s eyes—and it’s a confusing world. One where girls don’t make sense, best friends can talk you into anything, and being the fastest kid at school means everything.

This book is hilarious, but it is more than just a book full of laughs. It’s about growing up, owning up to your mistakes, and making restitution for them, even if they’re in the past. It’s about learning who you are, and discovering who you want to be. Every kid should read this book.

Highly recommended!

Content: some crude humor and bullying


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  • Reply
    Born Bookish
    April 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Ooo, this sounds like a book I want to get for my two 9 year old cousins. They like to read books with humor and it sounds like it teaches an important lesson along the way, win win.

    Amanda @ Born Bookish

  • Reply
    Tressa S
    April 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    This sounds like a great book. I'll have to add it to my son's wishlist.

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