Cannonball Read IV Book 2: The Misfits by James Howe

“This business of really knowing people, deep down, including your own self, it is not something you can learn in school or from a book. It takes your whole being to do it—your eyes and your ears, your brain and your heart. Maybe your heart most of all. —Bobby Goodspeed”

This is the story of a group of 4 friends. They are the Misfits; the kids who don’t fit in. They have the misfortune of being bullied. The narrator of the story is Bobby Goodspeed, also know as Fluff (named because of his love of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches. And because he might be a little on the chunky side.) He tells the story of how this group ran Addie (also know as String Bean)  for President of the school on a grass-roots, third-party called the No-Name party. The No-Name Party’s platform can be summed up with this line:

Sticks and stones may break our bones but names will break our spirit.

These kids are tired of being picked on and they are standing up for themselves.

I loved this book. I loved the characters. I especially loved the Narrator, Bobby. He is funny, if not a little bit self-deprecating. But I can relate to that. The character development in this book is fantastic. In fact, I’m really looking forward to reading Totally Joe and Addie on the Inside (both characters from this story). Howe does a fantastic job with dialog. I think character development is the greatest strength of this book. The story is wonderful, but I really grew to love the characters.

I would recommend this book to kids in 5th-7th grade.

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