Published by Chronicle Books
Summary: In this sequel to Ben Bee and the Teacher Griefer, Ben Y takes center stage as they deal with a brother’s death, uncertainty about gender, and a nasty vice principal who insists on enforcing a draconian dress code. Ben’s refuge is the library where the group that became friends in book 1 gets together for the official purpose of creating a student newspaper but really to play Sandbox, a Minecraft-style game invented by Ben’s brother. Ben frequently looks back on archived chats between them and their brother, and one day, their brother responds. Is it a ghost, or has someone hacked into the account? The answer proves difficult and brings up a lot of emotions, but Ben is fortunate to be surrounded by friends and family members who can offer much-needed support. 432 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: I feel like K. A. Holt should be better-known, as I have had a fair amount of success book-talking her books to middle school kids. Her novel-in-verse format, combined here with chats and the occasional drawing makes for a quick read, and many readers will sympathize with the struggles of the middle school characters.
Cons: As some interesting revelations were made about Mr. Mann, the evil assistant principal, I was hoping to see him have more of a change of heart.