Following their eponymous first outing (2015), Quinny and Hopper are back for a second, exploring friendship.
The third-graders, both depicted as white in cover art, couldn't be more different from each other. Hopper is a quiet boy who likes to deliberate before he acts. Quinny is an exceedingly lively girl who finds it hard to sit still or keep from talking when she isn't supposed to. The words just seem to burst from her, a trait some adults find more troubling than others. One of those bothered by it is the new long-term substitute teacher who has taken over their classroom. Since Hopper is undergoing the ordeal of a tonsillectomy—especially hard on a kid who worries a lot—Quinny must negotiate the problems at school without his valued support and guidance. Among the biggest issues is Victoria, rich, white, popular, and rather mean at times. What's nice about this bully, however, is that Schanen has imbued her with a conscience, adding a surprising depth to a tale for young readers. Since the narrative is related in Quinny’s and Hopper's distinct voices in alternating chapters, characters are well-rounded and their problems are fully believable. A few useful life lessons on friendship and the value of being true to oneself while being flexible enough to accept others' foibles are seamlessly incorporated.
An excellent, emotionally rich choice for readers ready for a sizable chapter book. (Fiction. 7-9)