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Library ed. ISBN 978-1-101-93827-0 $19.99
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-101-93825-6 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-101-93826-3 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-6
Lake View Middle School is undergoing major changes this year, most notably the heightened preparations for dreaded standardized tests. Teachers like Mrs. Woods, an old-school educator who plans to bring back “the magic of a read-aloud, ” and free-spirited Mrs. Magenta, math and science instructor and founder of a community service crew, attempt to protect learning spaces where any child can thrive. When even time for the community service group is hijacked in order to give kids even more test prep, the Recruits, a motley crew of sixth-graders, hatch a plan to get the scores the school wants and the motivation the students need. Buyea, author of the Mr. Terupt books, here tackles the question of what you would do if you had the right reason to do something you know is wrong. It’s a didactic but discussable theme, and the novel’s multi-perspective read makes it more inviting, with the constantly shifting voices giving the reader different bits of information. Chapters are reassuringly short, while character development is quick yet effective. The point about students having varied needs is a solid one, but mostly readers will just enjoy watching the Recruits fight back against scholastic tyranny.