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How Do You Spell G-E-E-K?


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What do you get when you combine two best friends, a geeky new spelling whiz, a quest to qualify for the National Spelling Bee, and a few unexpected surprises? A h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s middle grade reissue by acclaimed author Julie Anne Pe

About the Author

Julie Anne Peters is the critically acclaimed author of Define 'Normal', Between Mom and Jo, Far from Xanadu, and Luna, a National Book Award Finalist.


Gr 4-8‘A clever title, snappy dialogue, and common middle-school problems make this an appealing read. Two eighth-grade best friends have been competing for years in school, county, and state spelling bees. Their dream: to compete together in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Despite eating lunch in the school cafeteria daily with their dictionaries open and quizzing each other nightly, the two haven't quite been labeled full-fledged nerds by their peers. A new girl, however, has. Ann, the narrator, is assigned to show the newcomer around. She ends up not only befriending the misfit, but also "de-geeks" her and discovers in her a potential champion speller. Of course, the thorny problem of a threesome now thickens the plot. Although Peters paints her characters in broad strokes, she manages to skirt creating stock stereotypes by introducing compassion and wit into their personalities. The thoughts and attitudes of the narrator are especially well developed. There's a proper sprinkling of current slang and references to move the story along. A breezy, satisfying read with a not-so-subtle message about fitting in, acceptance, and friendship.‘Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY

Believable dialogue testifies to the casual cruelty and stumbling kindnesses of middle-schoolers, as well as their saving humor. - Publishers WeeklyThis is a funny, wonderfully written tale about friendship and competition, with secondary messages about parents and families dealing with divorce. - Booklist* 'A thoughtful, wry, and very funny look at friendship and fitting in - KIRKUS * 'A funny, wonderfully written tale about friendship and competition'BOOKLIST

Conflicts multiply as three eighth-grade classmates vie to make it to the Colorado state spelling bee. Will the winner be Kimberly with the pushy parents and brilliant spelling ability? Or Ann, whose secure world has been shaken by her parents' rancorous divorce? Or Lurlene, the miserably out-of-place, home-schooled student from South Dakota who wears braids and knee socks? Actually, this is just the scaffolding of this minor but solid book, whose interior plot has far more to do with trying to spell out feelings than spelling words. Peters (The Stinky Sneakers Contest) skillfully interweaves the competition with a story of friendship and shifting alliances. Ann, asked to show Lurlene around, first tries to think of ways to escape the odd, clumsy new girl. But when everyone ridicules Lurlene as a "geek," Ann realizes not only who her own real friends are, but that she can be a better person than she imagined. Believable dialogue testifies to the casual cruelty and stumbling kindnesses of middle-schoolers, as well as their saving humor. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

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