It was the biggest food fight in school history, but who’s to blame?
Suspect No. 1, Andrea, has a detailed life plan, the next step of which is winning the student body president’s race on the way to a position in Canada’s Parliament via Harvard and Yale. Ralph, suspect No. 2, is eager to make friends at his new school (his fifth in six years). And Joe, suspect No. 3, just wants to let a girl he likes know how he feels. Their alternating accounts of the lead-up to the fight tell the story in flashback. As part of her election campaign, Andrea sets up an anonymous advice app called Bossypants (just before the election she’ll reveal herself as the helpful adviser), but her tech help is not really on her side. Joe and Ralph both get messed-up advice, and misunderstanding leads to more misunderstanding…leads to the historic food fight. Will anyone get what they want or what they deserve? Sherman’s tale strains credulity from the beginning. The kids are realistic enough, and their narrative voices are distinct, but the logical hoops they are forced to jump through for the sake of gags and plot are completely unbelievable. No clueless young swain (or his family!) would believe he should woo a girl with pureed mussels and Coca-Cola–drizzled beets at lunch. The book adheres to the white default.
Skip the hall pass and take a hard pass on this middle school tale. (Fiction. 8-11)