In the third installment of the series, Myers offers another slice of middle school life at Harlem’s Da Vinci Academy for gifted and talented students.
For 14-year-old LaShonda Powell, real life is a lot tougher than solving for x and y in algebra class. She’s been offered a full scholarship to the Virginia Woolf Society Program for Young Ladies, thanks to her costume designs for the recent class play, and if she completes the program, she’ll qualify for future college scholarships. The problem is that LaShonda lives in a group home with her autistic brother, Chris, and the two are inseparable. Narrator Zander Scott understands LaShonda’s situation: “You can jump on a scholarship if you’re jumping by yourself, but if you have a little brother to take care of, as LaShonda did, things get hard in a hurry.” It’s a tough issue for a group of middle school students who care for one another and take pride in having one another’s backs. Myers has accomplished something special with this series, crafting a seemingly simple story that is really surprisingly rich, handling big themes of friendship, family, education and dreams.
This fine volume easily stands on its own, but readers will look forward to the fourth book, already in the works. (Fiction. 9-13)