Whatshisface by Gordon Korman

Published by Scholastic Press

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Summary:  Army brat Cooper is used to being the new kid in school, and tries to fade into the background as much as possible.  As consolation for the family’s most recent move, his parents have gotten him a top-of-the-line smartphone, but it seems to have some bugs.  Then one day, an oddly-dressed boy named Roddy appears on the screen and starts talking to Cooper in Shakespeare’s English. Coincidentally, Cooper’s new hometown, Stratford, is crazy about Shakespeare, and every year the seventh grade puts on one of the Bard’s plays.  This year, it’s Romeo and Juliet, and although Cooper would love to be Romeo to his crush Jolie’s Juliet, he’s relegated to the part of second watchman.  But Roddy has some personal knowledge of William Shakespeare, particularly Romeo and Juliet, and he’s not about to let Cooper get sidelined.  The two of them work together to capture Jolie’s heart, reveal the true author of Romeo and Juliet, and make this year’s production the most memorable Stratford has ever seen. 240 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  Gordon Korman fans won’t be disappointed by this fast and funny middle school story; Roddy’s old English interpretation of the 21st century is laugh-out-loud funny.

Cons:  The first few chapters were kind of flat.  I like the way Korman often tells stories from different characters’ perspectives, but this was all third person from Cooper’s point of view.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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