Zack Delacruz is unnoticed at his middle school—and that’s just the way he likes it. But a school assembly, a typhoon of spit, and an uncharacteristic moment of bravery are all it takes to change everything. Suddenly Zack is in charge of the class fundraiser. Worse, his partner is the school’s biggest bully! If they don’t sell all the chocolate bars, there will be no dance for the sixth grade. Zack never wanted to be a hero, but with his classmates’ hopes on the line, can he save the day?
***** Review *****
Zach Delacruz is one pretty cool kid, although he doesn’t think so. In fact, he would rather melt into the floor vents than make himself known…except he screws up that concept with his big mouth trying to defend a fellow student from being bullied, and somehow winds up nominating himself as the head of the sixth grade fundraiser. See, sixth graders have never been able to attend the dance in the history of Davy Crockett Middle School, and if Zach and El Pollo Loco can get all the chocolate bars sold, they’re in! Zach soon discovers that he is leading this project on his own, and must use all his resources – and questionable classmates – to get it done.
- Zach Delacruz
- Marquis Malone
- Janie Bustamante
- El Pollo Loco
- Cliché Jones
- Sophia Segura
- Steven Ramirez
“Yeah?” I looked up at the spinning ceiling fan.
“Do you ever get nervous around girls?”
“I get nervous around everybody.”
The Highs and Lows
- + Humor. Jeff Anderson knows how to write humor, and he knows how to write middle grades. Being in the profession where he works closely with teachers, he hits the nail on the head for middle school mentality.
- + Friendship. Middle school is tough to be somebody, to be anybody. It’s hard to be an individual and stand out and yet blend in. Zach starts out with one main man, Marquis, and slowly his crew grows a little larger as he leads the sixth grade class fundraiser.
- + Zach. Zach is a kind kid who does the right thing, even if it lands him in the hot water of the middle school sharks. He puts his neck on the line for Janie and winds up in charge of the sixth grade fundraiser. If it’s not successful, there will be heads to roll – mainly Zach’s.
- – Janie. Janie has a problem that nearly derails the sixth grade fundraiser. She’s a sweet girl, but she wants Zach to fix the problem – her problem! However, Janie has some turnabout after Zach comes up with a plan and she starts pitching in.
- + Marquis. He is an interesting mix for a middle school kid. He doesn’t like to stand out so much, but he is a bit of a show off. And he’s a numbers man. Math is his thing.
- + Plot. The drive of the plot is making that dance happen, but there are a few subconflicts along the way.
The car wash scene was the best, after the intervention scene. Those were my two favorites from the book, and I thought Zach owned that car wash!
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
Buy it! Even if you are not a MG reader, there are so many great examples of craft going on in the book that it is a great resource and teaching tool.
***** About the Author *****
Jeff has been sharing writing strategies with teachers and students for over 25 years. Whether presenting at national conferences like NCTE, ASCD, or in classrooms or writing his books for teachers or middle grade readers, Jeff’s passion for writing and grammar inspires teachers and young writers to soar. When he’s not writing with his “revising” dogs at home near downtown San Antonio, Texas, he’s walking, talking, or doing staff development around the US (and sometimes New Zealand).