Surviving Middle School: Navigating the Halls, Riding the Social Roller Coaster, and Unmasking the Real You by Luke Reynolds

Published by Aladdin/Beyond Words 

Summary:  Seventh grade English teacher Luke Reynolds draws on his experience as a former middle school student and current middle school teacher to give kids some words of wisdom on topics like peer pressure, grades, parents, and romance.  Each chapter starts with a story about one of Reynolds’ students, goes on to give advice about a particular topic, and concludes with an exercise, usually written, to help kids come up with their own answers about that issue.  A recommended resources chapter at the end includes lists of books and movies to inspire and instruct the middle school crowd.  192 pages; grades 5-8.

Pros:  I’d like to sit in on Mr. Reynolds’ class; he seems funny, caring, and insightful about the human condition.  While he speaks in a language kids will relate to, he also clearly remains the adult, empathizing with middle schoolers while helping them to understand themselves and those around them.

Cons:  I was expecting a quick read, with lots of side bars and comics; instead this is pretty text-heavy, which may not appeal to the intended audience.

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