Laura’s Bookshelf: The Last Boy at St. Edith’s
Happy Poetry Friday! The American Library Association is coming up next week. I’m looking forward to checking out fall trends in middle grade and, of course, what’s new in poetry.
I’ve had a blast during my debut author year spending time with fellow middle grade novelists. Today, I’d like to introduce Poetry Friday readers to Lee Gjertsen Malone and her contemporary novel, THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S.
Lee visited me in Maryland last weekend. We took a road trip to the inaugural Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival on the Eastern Shore. Lee is smart and so funny! That humor comes across in her debut middle grade novel.
THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S is about Jeremy. His single mother works at a private school in western Massachusetts, so he and his sisters attend on scholarship. The only problem is, St. Edith Academy’s is not exactly co-ed. Traditionally a girls’ school, the academy’s attempt to go co-ed has failed. Now Jeremy is the last boy standing in a sea of girls (as the book’s cover so perfectly illustrates). With his best-friend, a wannabe filmmaker named Claudia, Jeremy hatches a plan to get himself expelled. How? By organizing a series of epic pranks on the grounds of the school.
I gave myself the mission of finding a poem related to one of the pranks Jeremy stages. You won’t be disappointed. The poem appear at the end of this post.
THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S published in February. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Seventh grader Jeremy Miner has a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. Four hundred and seventy-five of them. That’s how many girls attend his school, St. Edith’s Academy. Jeremy is the only boy left after the school’s brief experiment in coeducation. And he needs to get out. His mom won’t let him transfer, so Jeremy takes matters into his own hands: He’s going to get expelled. Together with his best friend, Claudia, Jeremy unleashes a series of hilarious pranks in hopes that he’ll get kicked out with minimum damage to his permanent record. But when his stunts start to backfire, Jeremy has to decide whom he’s willing to knock down on his way out the door.
Recommended for fifth grade and up.
Who will like it?
- Kids who are dealing with shifting friendships as they make the transition from elementary to middle school.
- Fans of science fiction humor (there are hilarious scenes with Jeremy and his crush acting in Claudia’s epically bad SF movie).
What will readers learn about?
- An insider’s view of what it’s like to attend a private school.
- Even funny pranks can have unforeseen consequences.
- How it feels to be the only boy in a family, or a school, full of girls.
One of the first pranks that Jeremy and Claudia organize involves garden gnomes. It only took me a few moments of searching to find this gem on the website for Chuck Sambuchino’s book How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack:
I think that I shall never roam
In gardens where one finds a gnome
A hat that’s pointy, made of red
Creates in me a sense of dread
A gnome that tends to gross aggression
Can cause me trauma and depression
A gnome whose crabby, cross and piquey
Can really damage my physiquey
A gnome that travels with an ax
Instills the fear of sneak attacks…
TREASURE AT LURE LAKE, by Shari Schwarz (3/31/16)
THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY, by Janet Sumner Johnson (3/25/16)
THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE, by Heidi Heilig (3/10/16)
THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z, by Natalie Blitt (1/19/16)
COUNTING THYME, by Melanie Conklin (12/31/15)
FENWAY AND HATTIE, by Victoria J. Coe (12/24/15)
THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE, by Jen Maschari (12/3/15)
PAPER WISHES, by Lois Sepahban (11/19/15)
THE GIRL WHO FELL, by S. M. Parker (11/5/15)
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN, by Jeff Garvin (10/29/15)
SHALLOW GRAVES, by Kali Wallace (10/1/15)
MY SEVENTH GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS, by Brooks Benjamin (7/22/15)