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Seventh grader Holling Hoodhood believes fate has it in for him. He is supposed to stay out of trouble, to avoid tarnishing his father’s business image. But Holling has a knack for getting into awkward situations—even cleaning blackboard erasers has disastrous results, not to mention letting the classroom’s pet rats escape into the school’s ductwork—and unintentionally making enemies. Convinced that his teacher hates his guts (why else would she make him read Shakespeare on his own time?), he finds that Shakespeare has much to offer him, even beyond the rich vein of curses and insults. The turbulent climate of the 1960s, with the Vietnam War in progress, meshes with the concerns of all seventh grade boys, such as family expectations, bullies, and girls, for a relatable story of a boy who learns to stand up for himself and embrace his destiny, no matter what fate has in store.
About the Author
Gary D. Schmidt is the best-selling author of Pay Attention, Carter Jones; Orbiting Jupiter; the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; the Newbery Honor book The Wednesday Wars; and Okay for Now. He is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
* "Schmidt, whose Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy won both Printz and Newbery Honors, delivers another winner...deeply satisfying." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Schmidt ... [gets] to the emotional heart of every scene without overstatement ... another virtuoso turn." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Schmidt...makes the implausible believable and the everyday momentous...a gentle, hopeful, moving story." —ALA Booklist, starred review
"[An] entertaining and nuanced novel.... There are laugh-out-loud moments that leaven the many poignant ones." School Library Journal
"An accessible, humorous school story, and at the same time, an insightful coming-of-age tale." Bookpage