Friday, May 4, 2012

Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets

Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets
Eric Luper
Balzer + Bray, 2011
$15.99, Hardcover
March 25th, 2012

Genre: Humor
Age: 8+
Description: Eleven-year-old boating enthusiast Jeremy Bender is looking forward to a summer where he hopes he can convince his dad to let him sail the prizes Chriscraft boat. When a horrible accident occurs while Jeremy is cleaning the boat’s engine all his dreams go down the drain when he’s left with the problem of trying to figure out how to get $500 for a repair bill. How will he get the money? Easy, he recruits his partner in crime (and the real reason for the accident anyway), Slater, and decides to enter the Windjammer Whirl—a make your own boat contest with a winning prize of $500. There is only one snag to his brilliant plan—the Windjammer Whirl is only open to members of the Cupcake Cadets. But what could be easier? Just throw on an old uniform of his older sister and a wig and infiltrate the Cadets. What they don’t foresee, however, is having to meet a ton of Cadet requirements to even participate in the contest, including selling $100 worth of horrid cupcakes that could be better used as paperweights and having to earn three merit badges. In their escapades as Cadets they have to deal with a girl named Margaret who happens to be an aerodynamics expert and reigning Windjammer Whirl winner, a pie cooking disaster, a camping field trip, field hockey rivalry, and much more. Can they pull off the charade long enough to win the contest and get the $500?
Opinion: This is a fun take on the classic boy dresses as a girl tale. However Jeremy and Slater actually make it as far as they do without getting busted is a wonder because really a uniform and a wig isn’t that much camouflage. There are some open-ended questions left unresolved in the end (we never discover who sabotages Margaret’s boat) but by the end of the novel the boys learn that being a Cupcake Cadet is no easy picnic and they actually make some friends along the way. An entertaining book for both guys and girls. 

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