by Geoff Rodkey
First sentence: “Wars are terrible things.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Review copy picked up at Winter Institute for me by my co-workers
Content: There’s a lot of silliness, and it’s a “notebook” book and told in an oral history form, which means lots of pictures, not a lot of exposition, and a generous mix of technology. Perfect for reluctant readers. It’s in the middle grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore, but it’d be good up through 7th, I think.
The Tapper twins, Claudia and Reese, are at war. They disagree on how it started, but both are pretty invested in making each other’s life miserable now. It escalates from name calling to pranking (a dead fish left in a backpack) to online bullying to out-and-out destruction in an online gaming forum.
It’s told as an oral history; Claudia is the narrator, and nominally the one telling the events as they unfold, but she interviews friends and family (well, she uses text messages from her parents) and neighbors to defend or refute her point: that Reese is the one who started the War, and that he Deserved It. Of course, Reese totally rejects that idea.
Sure, this isn’t a lot of things, but it IS a lot of fun. And honestly: that’s what kids want and like. Personally, I loved the dynamic between the twins, their push and pull with each other. And while it’s an upper-middle class life that they live (computers, tablets, phones, babysitter, private school), and while it’s yet another New York City book, it’s a fun “fantasy” life for those of us in middle class, Midwest America (although yeah, I’d like to have their life and their problems) and a fun look at kids in New York City. It got me laughing, aloud at times, and sometimes that’s exactly all you want out of a book.
And I’m sure kids will love it.