Friday, May 4, 2012

DWEEB: Burgers, Beasts, and Brainwashed Bullies

DWEEB: Burgers, Beasts, and Brainwashed Bullies
Aaron Starmer
Delacorte, 2009
$15.99, Hardcover
April 6th, 2012

Genre: Mystery, School Story
Age: 9+
Description: Something weird is going on at Ho-Ho-Kus Middle School. Five of the school’s smartest boys—Denton, a British boy with mad negotiating skills; Wendell, a computer whiz; Eddie, a fast athlete; Elijah, an anarchist writer; and Bijay, the neglected Indian performer—all are framed for a crime they didn’t commit—stealing nearly $3,000 of bake sale funds under the cover of DWEEB (which supposedly is an acronym for the first initials of their names). When Vice Principal Snodgrass confronts the boys—who have never even spoken to each other before—with massive amounts of planted evidence the boys can do only what they can do which is going along with his evil plan. In order to wipe their records clean they are locked in a small room deep within the bowels of the school and forced to study up for one week on the Idaho Tests and then pass with flying colors. Snodgrass wants the school to become a leader in standardized test scores and hopes the boys can help. With a solid cover story to tell their parents (a secret invitation to join Mensa in Canada), the boys are trapped. When they discover a few loose bricks in the wall hidden by a motivational poster, small Eddie sneaks out into the inner walls of the school and begins to uncover a much deeper conspiracy—the whole school has turned into overachieving zombies and what is causing that mysterious growling sound in the walls? Does Snodgrass’s plan have even more sinister motives?
Opinion: While pushing credulity (hey, at least a story is given to the parents to explain their absence) this is a fun book that guys will especially enjoy. Five totally different boys get shanghaied into a dastardly plot and use their various skills to solve a mystery. The ending is pretty open-ended suggesting maybe the possibility of a sequel. If not, it’s still a great story of five different boys who end up friends and embrace the DWEEB name that has been thrust upon them.

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