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Monday, March 6, 2017

6th MMGM: Posted by John David Anderson (review, interview, giveaway)

Welcome to Day 6 of the 6th Annual March MG Madness, featuring John David Anderson and his book, Posted!

By John David Anderson
May 2, 2017
Walden Pond Press
Source: ARC from pub for review
From John David Anderson, author of the acclaimed Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, comes a humorous, poignant, and original contemporary story about bullying, broken friendships, and the failures of communication between kids.

In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.

In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

Frost, Wolf, DeeDee, and Bench are four boys -four friends- bonded together by their silly nicknames and the fact that they don’t really fit with any other group at Branton Middle School. But they have each other, they are their own people and tribe. Yet, when cell phones are banned from school and students resort to leaving sticky notes on lockers, chairs, and walls, to communicate, and when a new girl, unlike anyone they’ve met, named Rose, comes to school, the four boys find their friendships tested. Faced with bullies and growing up, Rose and the four boys must deal with an unforgettable and life-changing few weeks of eighth grade.

I’ve come to expect wonderful and great things from John David Anderson’s middle-grade books and Posted did not disappoint! Anderson’s heartfelt, sometimes heartbreaking, and deliciously humorous story is relevant, charming, and unputdownable.

Like with his previous middle-grade novels, Anderson expertly and cleverly captures those young teen years with a pitch-perfect voice that’s both bold and vulnerable, witty and earnest. I love that this author doesn’t underestimate his target audience and gives that audience a story that is as thought-provoking and poignant as it is entertaining and fun. Posted touches on many important and tough subjects, such as bullying; divorced parents; mental illness; racism; and LGBTQ issues, and does so with honesty, humor, and heart.

Posted is full of wonderfully developed and engaging characters to love, hate, and everything in between. From the four main boys, to Rose, and their peers, parents, and teachers, readers will see themselves, at least in some small way, in at least one of the characters.

Like words themselves, Posted will have a powerful and long-lasting impact on readers. I simply loved this book and would love to place it in the hands of every middle-grade reader!

Q1. What three words best describe your book, Posted?
War of words. Sticky note slugfest. Friends falling out. I know. I’m cheating. Sorry. This is hard!
Q2. Grab a copy of Posted and answer the following:
Favorite chapter? The chapter titled “The Rules”
Favorite page? 165. Because it represents the first—and probably last—time I’ve ever attempted to illustrate one of my own books.
Favorite setting? Frost’s couch. With room for four.
Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
Page 144 mentions Iron Man, Star Wars, Mikhail Gorbachev, and nuclear missiles. Plus it contains the word dinglefart. And it represents a potentially divisive moment between three of the main characters: Frost, Wolf, and Rose.
Oh. And there’s some significant punching-related foreshadowing.
Q3. Who are your favorite middle-grade hero and heroine? What is your favorite middle-grade book?
Hero and heroine? Hmm.  Fflewddur Fflam and Hermione Granger.
The second question is flat-out impossible, so instead I will rewrite it to read. “What is your favorite middle-grade book about a superhero squirrel who types poetry?” That one’s easy. Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.
Q4. Why do you think middle-grade lit is so important?
Arguably this often the time when reading becomes an academic chore or a life-long passion. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but there are so many things competing for the attention of kids that age that books lose out. I’m afraid it’s because kids that age either lack a space where reading for pleasure is privileged or haven’t found the kind of book that knocks their socks off. I feel it’s important to do what I can to further foster a love of reading, as well as get kids thinking about the power and beauty of language itself in the hopes that they continue to rack up overdue fines at the library long into their old age.
Q5. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Posted, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
It would be called “The Gauntlet” and it would be, like, thirty feet tall (I think I’m gonna need a bigger oven). Chocolate with a fine white dusting of powdered sugar to represent the first Branton snow. At first it would taste like imminent death. But then, once you’ve conquered it and eaten the whole thing, it would taste like victory.

John David Anderson is the author of many books for young readers, including Sidekicked and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at website * facebook * twitter

Win a signed copy of Posted!
Walden Pond Press has generously offered one (1) copy for one winner.
-US only
-ends 4/5 17
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes

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Danielle H. said...

Great review--you've convinced me that I'll love this book. My favorite books are those that leave me with a lasting impression and keep me thinking about them long after I finish reading.

Brenda said...

I've been eagerly awaiting the release of Posted. Love John David Anderson's characters voice. Still thinking about Ms. Bixby's Last Day and Dungeoneers. Lovely review.

Batch of Books said...

I love this author! I'm so glad to see another book from him. :)

Slowsly said...

I look forward to reading this book. Having taught middle school I know how difficult it is for any student much less a new student. Thank you for sharing the story.

Jane said...

I love Standard Hero Behavior. I look forward to reading Posted!

anne s. said...

Looking forward to reading Posted. I loved Ms. Bixby's Last Day, and so did my daughter!

Geo Librarian said...

I appreciate your review. It definitely makes me want to read the book.