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By: John David Anderson

In middle school, words aren't just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends, or make you enemies. Acknowledgments include author’s note on bullying.

ISBN: 9780062338204

JLG Release: Sep 2017


Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Name-calling, Bullying
Topics: Middle school , Friendship , Family life , Bullying , Cell phones , Post-it notes , Divorce , Cyberbullying , Sexuality

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Awards & Honors

ALSC Notable Children’s Books 2018, Older
Summer 2017 Kids’ Indies Next List, Top 10
New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2017

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Middle school can be rough, even for a tight-knit pack of 13-year-old friends. When the new girl, Rose, joins their table at lunch, things start to change in uncomfortable ways for Frost, Bench, Deedee, and Wolf. It certainly doesn’t help that the sharp words and mean thoughts that used to fly around on cell phones, which have been banned, ar Middle school can be rough, even for a tight-knit pack of 13-year-old friends. When the new girl, Rose, joins their table at lunch, things start to change in uncomfortable ways for Frost, Bench, Deedee, and Wolf. It certainly doesn’t help that the sharp words and mean thoughts that used to fly around on cell phones, which have been banned, are now pasted on the school walls via sticky notes, out there for everyone to see. The eighth grade that Anderson portrays contains a good deal of hurtful words and somewhat muted violence spun from his memories of being “short and smart (but not that smart) and scrawny and often alone.” Both the wit of the prose and the bullying described are sharp and speak to everyday situations in today’s schools. Stylistically the novel is solid, with a repetitive emphasis on the power of words. Anderson creates crucial suspense as narrator Frost looks back on the events of the story. Regrettably, the book overhypes itself to a substantial degree: the “war” is not the advertised monumental conflict of competing sides but rather a significant backdrop for a couple of major incidents in the lives of the main characters. VERDICT A forceful book that focuses on bullying and the development of friendships in middle school amid exploration of the power of words. A good purchase for collections serving middle schoolers.—Erin Reilly-Sanders, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Horn Book

Cell phones—“with their texts and their apps and their electric, buzzy addictiveness”— become such a nuisance at Branton Middle School that they are banned by the administration. As a result, a new, old-fashioned idea comes along: sticky notes. Students begin communicating via Post-it notes, and lockers are soon plastered wi Cell phones—“with their texts and their apps and their electric, buzzy addictiveness”— become such a nuisance at Branton Middle School that they are banned by the administration. As a result, a new, old-fashioned idea comes along: sticky notes. Students begin communicating via Post-it notes, and lockers are soon plastered with little yellow shingles. As it turns out, Post-its work as well as cell phones for insults, anonymous cruelty, and ganging up on innocent victims. As narrator Frost (whose family’s budget doesn’t allow for a cell phone anyway) observes, “Sticky notes were the weapons and words were the ammunition.” Young Frost is a perfect guide to this underworld of middle-school hell. He is a poet, even named for a poet. In a world where “words accumulate like a cancer, and then they eat away at you until there is nothing left,” Frost is a young man for whom words matter, who understands that, while words on screens and Post-its can “break you to pieces,” they also can be beautiful. “Gather enough of them and sometimes they can stick those same pieces back together.” For a novel about words on little screens and sticky notes, Frost’s story is somewhat long and unwieldy, but acute observations about social media and school life and a smart, engaging narrator make this a journey well worth taking. Readers might even want some Post-it notes to mark the good parts. dean schneider

Book Details

ISBN

9780062338204

First Release

September 2017

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

384

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.1; Points: 12;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 4.6; Points: 17;

Lexile

Level 750L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Walden Pond

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Mild language, Name-calling, Bullying

Topics

Middle school, Friendship, Family life, Bullying, Cell phones, Post-it notes, Divorce, Cyberbullying, Sexuality,

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