THE CLASSROOM launch date was YESTERDAY, and look what is already going on!
|Robin being interviewed by Dan Shadwell on KSBY TV|
“This documentary set out to show the real story of Trevor, along with his normal, everyday, average classmates.... Westside is their middle school. And these are their stories.” With an introduction like that (and the subtitle), readers may expect more of a documentary-style novel than what Mellom (Ditched: A Love Story) actually delivers in her first middle-grade novel. Most of her story unfolds through good old third-person omniscient narration, interspersed with occasional “interviews” with seventh-grader Trevor Jones and his classmates. Fortunately, Mellom has a gift for school-days humor, and her novel is very entertaining. Trevor, a consummate worrier, and Libby, a consummate planner, have been best friends for years, but as they begin the school year, Libby, tired of covering for Trevor’s (many) gaffes, believes it is time for them to make new friends. Gilpin’s spot art (not all seen by PW) is a mix of notes, cartoons, and other “found materials” that add to the book’s sense of fun as romantic entanglements and misunderstandings proliferate in the days leading up to the school dance. Ages 9–12. Agent: Jill Corcoran, the Herman Agency. (June)
A documentary crew descends upon Westside Middle School to reveal what middle-school students' lives are really like. At the heart of the story is Trevor Jones, just starting middle school. He's a worrier and a "pre-thinker," and, despite his claim that he's not worried about seventh grade, he has it all planned. He's got brand-new clothes, and his yogurt stick is frozen just right to be the perfect temperature by lunchtime. Unfortunately, his best friend forever, Libby, shakes his cool at the bus stop when she informs him about the upcoming dance and how he must ask a girl by the end of the day. The whole novel revolves around the dance and the attendant social drama of middle-school life. Though readers never find out much about the making of the documentary itself, it's a clever contrivance. A third-person narration alternates with interviews with the major players. There's Trevor, Libby, eighth-grader Corey Long, Wilson the custodian, and seventh-grade gossip Cindy Applegate among the several main players. Illustrations add appeal to the story, including cartoonish drawings found in Trevor's notebook, a "Social Skills Training" pamphlet found in Counselor Plimp's office and drawings from Libby's Hola! Kitty Cat! sketchpad. All in all, a silly but appealing story for readers approaching the middle-school years. (Fiction. 9-12)
And MUCH MORE to come!