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by Lisa Graff

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: April 12th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-25516-8
Publisher: Philomel

Media Club becomes “a place of battle” when the time comes to select a news anchor for the spring semester.

Fourth-grader Francine Halata has dreamt of sitting behind the news desk since the beginning of the school year, and she’ll do just about anything to get to get there. Kansas Bloom couldn’t care less, until passing it up means losing his status as “King of Dares.” And the race is on. For two weeks, members of the Media Club agree to assign Francine and Kansas each a dare a day.  Each dare is worth a point, and the one with the most points at the end will win the coveted anchor seat. Though Kansas and Francine are pitted against each other in this high-stakes game at school, the competition pales in comparison to what they are both coping with at home. Through a third-person narration that alternates focus between Francine and Kansas, readers see them both struggling to come to grips with parents who are in the throes of divorce. Graff does an impressive job striking a balance between humor and heft in this middle-grade novel.

With two equally compelling protagonists to root for and plenty to make kids laugh, this is sure to resonate with and entertain young readers. (Fiction. 7-10)