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Reviewed by:
  • How to Survive Middle School
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Gephart, Donna. How to Survive Middle School. Delacorte, 2010. 247p. Library ed. ISBN 978-0-385-90701-9 $18.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-385-73793-7 $15.99 R Gr. 5-8.

Aspiring late-night star David Greenberg would much rather spend his days filming episodes of Talk Time, his goofy internet talk show, and watching reruns of The Daily Show than deal with the pressing issues of his real life. Of those, there are plenty: his best friend has recently ditched him for a rougher crowd, leaving David to fend for himself in middle school; his "eccentric" mother has run off to raise organic beets in Maine; and his new science partner, Sophie Meyers, has a particular knack for distracting him from all things science related. When Sophie enthusiastically shares his videos with friends outside of school, David becomes an overnight internet sensation; despite his online stardom, things at school seem to go from bad to worse, and David has to figure out to live—or maybe simply survive—in the real world. A deft balance of clever humor and poignant drama makes for an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable coming-of-age story, one to which many young readers, particularly boys, will find themselves relating. David's narration accurately reflects the hormonal rollercoaster that is puberty, as he finds himself unable to fully account for some of his more unpredictable behavior while experiencing feelings he would frankly rather shove off on someone else. David's sister, Lindsay, is by far the star among an excellent cast of supporting characters, [End Page 431] and their sometimes fraught, sometimes tender relationship is a refreshing portrayal of the sibling bond. Although some of the Daily Show references may fly over the heads of younger readers, there are enough laughs, tears, and additional contributions from a camera-loving hamster here to make this one appeal to Diary of a Wimpy Kid (BCCB 6/07) fans.