The Last Boy at St. Edith’s by Lee Gjersten Malone

Published by Aladdin 

Summary: St. Edith’s is an all-girls’ school. Several years ago, the administration tried an experiment to go co-ed, but it failed miserably. When the school returned to its single-sex status, the boys who were already enrolled were allowed to stay, but one by one, they have transferred to other schools. On the first day of seventh grade, Jeremy Miner gets the news that the last boy besides himself has left the school. Now he is the sole boy among 475 girls. His single mother works at the school and gets free tuition for him and his two sisters, and she dislikes the local public school, so he is stuck. His friend Claudia comes up with an idea—stage a series of pranks so he will get kicked out of school. Jeremy’s basically a good kid, and the idea of pranks makes him uncomfortable, but he’s desperate. He makes up some rules, though: nobody gets hurt or humiliated, nothing gets broken or is permanent. But try as he might, he can’t stick to those rules, and permanent damage is done, both to the school and some of its students. Jeremy starts to think there may be worse fates than being the last boy at St. Edith’s…but is he in too deep to turn back? 272 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros: The characters are engaging and likeable and the premise is an interesting one. The pranks and consequences seemed quite realistic, and Jeremy’s dilemmas could make for some interesting discussion.

Cons: I don’t know what could have been done differently, but given such a fascinating premise, it seemed like the plot never really quite took off as much as I was hoping it would.

 

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