Can a mischief-maker and a do-good hipster find common ground?
Soren’s best friend and pranking co-conspirator, Alex, has moved away from their small hometown of Camelot, Minnesota. Without her, Soren may give up pranking altogether. Things start to look up when Soren’s cousin Flynn arrives from Brooklyn to “study abroad” in Camelot. But Flynn, who loves green tea, yoga, and writing “inclusive” banjo tunes based on popular religious songs, is nothing like the best friend Soren imagined he would be. As the cousins start sixth grade at Camelot Elementary School and Flynn’s unique flair and mad soccer skills translate to instant popularity, Soren gets the urge to prank again. At first the pranks seem like innocent fun, but when they start hurting other people—including Flynn—are they still worth the laugh? YA author Hattemer’s first dip into middle-grade fiction is over-the-top hilarity with quick pacing, sure to engage Diary of a Wimpy Kid aficionados despite the absence of illustrations. The cast is majority white, with diversity implied by character names. Ms. Hutchins, the cousins’ science teacher, is not only out to her students (her wife is causally mentioned), but vegan—excellent, if slightly underdeveloped, additions.
Keenly observed details and memorable characters make this a sitcomworthy addition to the prankster pantheon. (Fiction. 9-12)