Ethan Marcus learns that he, too, has tenacity and determination, although he is in so many ways unlike his not-quite-a-year-older sister, Erin.
In a sequel to Ethan Marcus Stands Up (2017), the high-energy seventh-grader and his same-grade sister are invited to an “Innovation Camp,” where creative kids spend a week developing an idea from invention to business plan. In spite of the failure of his stand-up “desk-evator” at the school’s invention fair, Ethan still hopes to be successful in his campaign to be able to stand up at school. Told in alternating voices—Ethan’s; his best friend, Brian’s; superorganized Erin’s; her best friend, Zoe’s; and a new character, Marlon’s—this book offers a variety of personality types and situations for middle-grade readers who like to see themselves and their worlds in story. Brian and Zoe have family issues. Marlon, Erin’s archenemy, is a highly gifted but socially awkward, even isolated, classmate whose family is moving again by the end of the story. The advantage of this narrative construction is the way it gives readers the ability to see characters from different points of view. The disadvantage is potential confusion as the voices are more generic middle school than individual with the signal exception of Marlon, whose hyperintellectual, contraction-free narration calls to mind many a character on the spectrum. The five main characters present white; names indicate that their classmates are diverse.
A satisfying sequel. (Fiction. 9-12)