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Monday, September 16, 2013

Review and Guest Post: The Classroom- Student Council Smackdown by Robin Mellom

Today I'm not only sharing my review of The Classroom: Student Council Smackdown, but author Robin Mellom is also stopping by for a quick guest post...

The Classroom: Student Council Smackdown
(The Classroom #2)
by Robin Mellom
Libby Gardner and Cindy Applegate are smile-without-teeth friends, but they are fierce rivals when it comes to politics. Cindy owned the student council elections in fourth and sixth grades, while Libby came out on top in fifth. Now, they both hunger for the prestigious title of seventh grade class president.But middle school elections have their own rules...and pressures. When Trevor Jones is forced to join the presidential race, he devises a plan to make sure his best friend Libby wins. That all changes when he discovers that Libby has oh-so-sneakily gone behind his back by hiring Molly Decker to be her campaign manager. Now, he's in it to win it. And things are going to get ugly.Join Trevor, Libby, Cindy, and the whole Westside contingency (along with the documentary film crew) as they explore the ugly underbelly of middle school politics.
I received a review copy of this book from the pub in exchange for my honest review

During my last Middle-Grade March Madness, I had thepleasure of reading and reviewing Robin Mellom’s hilarious The Classroom and I’m back today to review the equally enjoyable sequel, The Classroom: Student Council Smackdown. Mellom returns to Westside Middle School, a few weeks after Trevor Jones’ brief foray into epicness, as the documentary crew continues to film middle-school life. The events at the dance have left Trevor with some unexpected popularity; popularity he hopes to use to help Libby win the job of Student Council President. Libby has some stiff competition in the form of her frenemy Cindy Applegate and the tweens learn that middle-school campaigns are a whole new ballgame.

I really enjoyed The Classroom and am happy to report that this sequel does not disappoint. Mellom returns with even more laughs, fun, and heart, and has once again crafted a wonderfully written middle-school romp with that pitch-perfect voice I always look for and storytelling that sparkles.

The refreshingly unique format of the book, with its mix of third person prose and first person documentary interviews, makes for a really captivating and entertaining story. Let’s face it, there’s no place filled with more drama, romance, and excitement than a middle-school, so this documentary premise makes total sense. And the middle-school environment Mellom has created is super realistic and believable. Like book one, The Classroom: Student Council Smackdown is brimming with laugh-out-loud humor and surprising heart. The race for seventh grade student council president is full of tough obstacles, crazy situations, and some important life lessons, all of which will enthrall and amuse young readers from beginning to end.

Mellom’s story sparkles and her characters really shine. With a mix of over-the-top, shy, and endearing personalities, these books offer a character for every reader to love and relate to. Trevor Jones is such a lovable, relatable main character and I just love journeying through middle-school with him. Trevor is surrounded by the kind of kids you’d expect to find in a middle-school (the jocks, the over-achievers, the bullies, the rebels, etc) and yet, they’re continuously surprising and impressing me with their wit, humor, and heart.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: The Classroom: Student Council, with its laughs, relatable characters, and fun storytelling is a wonderful and worthy sequel to The Classroom. Both books in this series are great reads for the middle-grade readers in your life!

purchase: amazon / b&n / indiebound

From Teaching Middle Schoolers to Writing for Them
By Robin Mellom
I started teaching fifth grade back in 1992. (Oh sheesh, that was a long time ago. Richard Marx and Bryan Adams were popular. Oh, the hair!)
Anyway. After lunch each day, I would read out loud to my students and their most common request was for me to read a funny book. At the time, they were hard to come by. So I ended up reading SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL over and over and over. They couldn’t get enough!
That was when I decided to take my childhood dream of writing and turn it into something REAL. I decided to write funny books for middle schoolers.
Most of my ideas and details about life in middle school don’t come from my years of teaching. When you’re the one IN CHARGE of the kids, it’s very hard to soak in what they’re experiencing because you’re so concerned with everyone simply SURVIVING. So what I did was go observe other teachers’ classrooms. I paid attention to what the students were doing during class, how they dressed, and how they talked. I even took small groups aside and interviewed them about their favorite moments in middle school as well as their most humiliating. The stories they told me were GEMS.
Writing for middle schoolers has been a longtime dream of min and I am so grateful that I get to do this thing I love. I pinch myself daily.

Robin Mellom
Robin Mellom grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She has taught grades five through eight and has a master's degree in education. She now writes full time for kids and teens and lives with her husband and son on the central coast of California.

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