BORN TOO SHORT by Dan Elish

BORN TOO SHORT

The Confessions of an Eighth-Grade Basket Case
Age Range: 11 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

Elish (The Trail of Tears, not reviewed, etc.) deftly delivers the humorous side of the horrible—that’s eighth-grade life—told as a modern-day fairytale overflowing with adolescent hormones. Matt Greene, an affluent New York City boy who attends private school, has been best friends with Keith Livingston since they were little kids. Keith is everything Matt longs to be: tall, athletic, irresistible to girls, and extremely handsome. It’s enough to make Matt, who at five foot one and a half has never had a girlfriend, feel darned inferior. Finally, after a series of events during which Keith completely outshines his best friend, Matt’s J.Q. or “Jealousy Quotient” is so high that he screams into the night, wishing Keith ill. A homeless man overhears Matt and warns him, “Wishes that strong can come true.” And much to Matt’s surprise, then remorseful horror, Keith starts fouling out on all fronts, causing Matt to worry that somehow, through the vehicle of the homeless man, he’s responsible. At the same time, Matt’s life unexpectedly improves, a welcome—yet guilt-inducing—turn of affairs. Elish perfectly captures the psychological rawness of eighth grade—the agony of picking the right chair to sit on during a date, the dreadful cracking soprano voice that emerges at precisely the wrong moment—lessening the sting by making the reader chuckle with recognition. This pop novel has no great lessons to impart and will be read and enjoyed without many afterthoughts. Still, it’s consistently amusing, fast-paced, and fun. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-84386-0
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2002




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