by Lisa Yee
First sentence: “Marley was dead, to begin with.”
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Marley Sandelski is invisible. No, not really: it’s a straight-up middle grade fiction book, not science fiction. But, that’s the way he feels. He plugs through middle school, getting beat up by the kids he calls the “Gorn” (Marley’s a huge Star Trek Original Series fan), getting mostly good grades (except for P.E.), and hanging out with his fellow geeky friends in AV Club (now a class called Technical Services). After school, he hangs out in the basement of the Rialto Theater, a historical landmark that specializes in old movies that his parents run. It’s not a great existence, but it is one.
Then things start to change. It’s a bumpy ride, but maybe… just maybe… things will change for the better?
The best thing about this book, I think, is that there is honest-to-goodness conflict in it. Marley is dealing with bullies — both physical and emotional. On top of that, he’s dealing with all the regular middle school boy stuff: trying to fit in, liking girls out of your league, not giving up on friends, being “cool”. It’s a good story, and you really root for Marley to make it all work out, and still not give up on who he really is.
My only complaint is that Lisa Yee, whose blog I adore, is not nearly as funny in book form as she is in blog form. But that’s a minor complaint in an otherwise good book.