My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Publication Date: September 20th, 2016
Publisher: Dial Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 9+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, School, Contemporary,
When Archer is in sixth grade, his beloved uncle Paul marries another man—Archer’s favorite student teacher. But that’s getting ahead of the story, and a wonderful story it is. In Archer’s sweetly naïve but observant voice, his life through elementary school is recounted: the outspoken, ever-loyal friends he makes, the teachers who blunder or inspire, and the family members who serve as his role models. From one exhilarating, unexpected episode to another, Archer’s story rolls along as he puzzles over the people in his life and the kind of person he wants to become…and manages to help his uncle become his best self as well.
If nineteen-year-old me was dulled reading eighty pages of this book to the point of wondering if the author himself was dulled writing this book, I wonder if eleven-year-old me would have made it past page five.
I’m a little mad, I’m not going to lie. I feel like I’ve been lied to. Clearly, I expected this book to be about a little best man attending a gay marriage, and maybe the events surrounding the main one, but in the eighty pages I did read – and this book is quite short – there was no reference to that.
Archer is lovely, don’t get me wrong, but he’s very reserved, even with the reader. He just loves describing other people and things that are happening around him. So much that sometimes I would forget the book is written in the first person POV.
Eighty pages in and I felt like I knew nothing about Archer.
Plus when this new, interesting character makes his way into the storyline, the realisticity of the book dissolves. I mean, I get that it’s a small town and the gentleman is very handsome, but the reactions of the media, teachers and classmates seemed quite exaggerated.
There’s no other way to say this. It’s a forgettable book. Archer himself is entirely forgettable. He’s the kind of shy, sweet boy who’s in your class, and yet, you never seem to notice him, because he doesn’t want to be noticed. Prefers the sidelines.
I will not be reading more books by this author.
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