Monday, December 3, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - The Fourth Stall

The book I'm sharing with you today was recommended to me by a fellow writer. She raved about it, especially the first person voice of the main character - a sixth grade boy.  I'm happy to say that I absolutely LOVED it too!

THE FOURTH STALL
by Chris Rylander
Walden Pond Press 2011

From Goodreads:
Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It's what he does—he and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boys' bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming.

Or at least it was, until one particular Monday. It starts with a third grader in need of protection. And before this ordeal is over, it's going to involve a legendary high school crime boss named Staples, an intramural gambling ring, a graffiti ninja, the nine most dangerous bullies in school, and the first Chicago Cubs World Series game in almost seventy years. And that's just the beginning. Mac and Vince soon realize that the trouble with solving everyone else's problems is that there's no one left to solve yours.

As I said I absolutely LOVED this book. The two main components - baseball and a mystery/thriller for middle graders hooked me right away. But, don't think this is a hardcore read, humor was woven into the story line as well, making the book well-balanced and real. Reading a book from the perspective of a sixth grade boy and seeing everything from his eyes really pulled me in. At some points, I would revert to my own thoughts as a mother - how could his parents let him do that, or how could they not know what was going on, but then I would remember that maybe they were aware, but the whole point of the book was to see things from Mac's eyes, not an adult's. Definitely not a perspective you read much in middle grade. I loved the relationship between Mac and Vince and seeing how they dealt with the problems they needed to solve and how those problems impacted their bond as friends. 

At the end of the book was the first chapter of the sequel - The Fourth Stall Part II, which I can't wait to read soon!

For more middle grade recommendations, please see the list to the right on my blog. Have a great week!