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Turtle Boy

By: M. Evan Wolkenstein

Seventh grade is not going well for Will Levine. Kids at school bully him because of his funny-looking chin. His science teacher finds out about the turtles he spent his summer collecting from the marsh behind school and orders him to release them back into the wild. And for his bar mitzvah community service project, he has to go to the hospital to visit RJ, an older boy struggling with an incurable disease. Unfortunately, Will hates hospitals.

At first, the boys don’t get along, but then RJ shares his bucket list with Will. Among the things he wants to do: ride a roller coaster, go to a concert and a school dance, and swim in the ocean. To Will, happiness is hanging out in his room, alone, preferably with his turtles. But as RJ’s disease worsens, Will realizes he needs to tackle the bucket list on his new friend’s behalf before it’s too late. It seems like an impossible mission, way outside Will’s comfort zone. But as he completes each task with RJ’s guidance, Will learns that life is too short to live in a shell.

ISBN: 9780593121603

JLG Release: Oct 2020

Sensitive Areas: Language: Mild Language

Friendship , Facial abnormalities , Bar mitzvahs , Terminal illness , Middle schools , Judaism , Jewish people

$16.80  Member Price

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Advanced Readers

Grades 6-9

12 titles/year


Awards & Honors

2021 Sydney Taylor Middle Grade Book Award

Book Details



First Release

October 2020



Dewey Classification


Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count


Accelerated Reader

Level 4.4; Points: 11;

Scholastic Reading Counts



Level 640L


Print Book


Library edition with trade jacket added



Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Mild Language


Friendship, Facial abnormalities, Bar mitzvahs, Terminal illness, Middle schools, Judaism, Jewish people,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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Book Genres

Realistic Fiction

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