The Word Gang
Publisher: Precipitation Press
Source: the author
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
Kalisha skipped the whole school year last year and didn't tell a soul. So this year she's been placed in a new program called Project Restart, taught by Jack Ralston. Ralston's teaching method is strict and there are penalties for anything he considers disruptive - including the use of good vocabulary! Kalisha soon makes friends with two boys and armed with a copy of the Compact Oxford Dictionary, she and her friends start using big words to confuse Ralston. But when the media catches wind of The Word Gang, things quickly spin even more out of control.
What a unique plot! This is definitely something I could see happening in real life, right down to the national media buzz. I can see both sides of the debate, though. A teacher shouldn't punish students for learning, but at the same time Kalisha and her friends were being disruptive on purpose. Once they learned it would frustrate Ralston, they used that against him.
Jack Ralston really was a character to abhor. For some reason, he seemed to be in teaching just for fame. The only reason he wanted Project Restart to be successful was so he could become famous and supposedly rich off of it. Why you would ever punish a student for using a word you don't know is beyond me, but Ralston had no qualms about it. His attitude in general was just terrible, it made me wonder what had happened to him as a kid that made him such a screwed up adult.
On the other hand, I loved the character of Mr. Spinoza. I would have liked to have read a whole book just about his life since it seemed to be so interesting. I was glad the old man found friends in his neighbors and that his life became less lonely.
Three stars! I enjoyed the book and it's unique plot, but I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters. I did enjoy learning some new words though, none of which are otiose.
Enter to win a copy below! (US only, please, ages 13+)
a Rafflecopter giveaway