Confessions of a Class Clown by Arianne Costner

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Jack has been a class clown since first grade and has a big following for the stunts he posts on MyTube, but finding real friends proves to be a lot harder.  He stops by an after-school speed friendshipping club, ostensibly for the free donuts, and gets to talk to three kids: Mario, Brielle, and Tasha.  After the club meeting, the three share their perspectives with readers, which prove to be quite different from Jack’s impressions of them.  Despite Jack’s apparent confidence, he actually has a lot of doubt about his ability to make friends and often assumes that other kids don’t like him.  The reader gets to see all four kids’ insecurities and misperceptions as they slowly move toward a better understanding of each other.  Although there’s no guarantee that they’ll remain friends in eighth grade, each one develops compassion and gets some tools that will come in hand in future friendships.  288 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans might be willing to take a chance on this book with its appealing cover and grayscale illustrations.  Jack experiences a bit more personal growth than Greg Heffley, but the author’s light touch and insightful portraits of each character provide plenty of fun along with some learning.

Cons:  The kids were quick to come to some pretty adult conclusions about social media which might not ring quite true with tweens.

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