Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Book Review: Me & Miranda Mullaly by Jake Gerhardt

Earlier this year I found myself lamenting the amount of "sad books" I was reading. The group I am teaching this year already has a lot of sadness in their lives, and often don't want to be reminded of it in a book. I have several funny books in my classroom and I began pulling out more and more of them to share with the kids, hoping to make them laugh. One day, in their infinite wisdom, a student asked for a "normal" book. I looked at him, puzzled, and asked what he meant by that. He said, "One that is like me, you know, normal. Where normal stuff happens to normal kids." Ahh, gotcha. What we were looking for here was "normal" realistic fiction. Not sad, not laugh out loud hilarious, just a book where kids were kids. It's then I remembered, that's what I read as a kid pretty often too. I was an anxious kid, and am now an anxious adult. I looked to my books to ease my racing heart, to make me feel safe. I have lots of these books, and now, one more.

Here, in Me & Miranda Mullaly, my students will find enjoyment. They will enter the eighth grade world of Sam, Duke, and Chollie. All three boys have inexplicably fallen in love with their classmate, Miranda. Miranda, however, is completely oblivious to their affections. The book is told in alternating viewpoints from the boys with essay prompts from all four boys and Miranda interspersed throughout the book. 

I've book talked this one several times as I read it to my students. They were anxious for me to finish so they could begin their waiting list as they pass the book from one hand to the other. They were curious - did I like one of the boys over the other? Would Miranda end up with one of them? None of them? Would the boys find out that the others liked the same girls? Would they become enemies? Now that I've finished the book, I know all of the answers to their questions, yet won't answer them. I know they will have a blast getting to know Sam, Duke, and Chollie all on their own. 

This one comes out today and would be great for fifth graders on up. I hope your students (and you!) enjoy it just as much as I did.