Marshmallow and Caramel have reviewed several books about school life for this blog before. Today Marshmallow wanted to talk about another book about school life: The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: So Marshmallow let us start with a quick summary. Can you tell us what this book is about?
Marshmallow: This book is about a kid named Maverick. He is short and people mistreat him at school. He also has some family problems. But when he starts sixth grade, he decides to try and change things. He decides to protect others who are mistreated.
S: That sounds really nice. He is not being treated well himself so he knows it feels terrible. So he decides to stand up for others so they won’t feel so lonely.
S: So how does it go for him? Can he actually help other people?
M: He ends up being able to help, but at the start, he is always getting in trouble. He tries to stand up for others, but usually those people are not very appreciative or grateful. And there is really a lot going on at home. His mom is single and keeps making poor choices for boyfriends. They hit her and she is not always able to stand up to them and Maverick sees this and feels terrible that he is unable to protect his mom.
S: Yes, Maverick’s life is really hard, right? His mom is also always either working very hard at an unstable job or is out of work. Mom and son love each other and are usually kind to one another, but the home is not safe or comfortable.
M: Maverick does not have too many adults to trust, but he does have his aunt, and then eventually he finds another trusted grownup at school. I’m not telling who because I don’t want to give away all the details.
S: I agree. I think this gives people a good sense of the type of book this is.
M: Yes. Except that the book is also really really funny.
S: Yes, I will agree with that too. I was really really sad at some point while reading and then the next sentence made me laugh out loud. Maverick is a sincere, modest, and hilarious narrator.
M: That is true. His voice reminds me a bit of Percy Jackson.
S: How so?
M: They have the same sense of humor I think.
S: I guess so. I think they both are good at self-deprecating humor. And Percy has a lot of difficulties to fit in at school before he figures out he is a demigod. So maybe there is that too. Both Percy and Maverick are kids who did not start out life with things going easy for them.
M: Yes. I think so.
S: So what else would you like to say about this book? Did you enjoy reading it?
M: I enjoyed reading it, but I do think it is for older bunnies. Maverick’s life is very hard, and some kids might not be mature enough to read about domestic abuse and alcoholism and such.
S: Of course there are a lot of kids who have to live with these things, so for those kids, there is no way to avoid learning about them at any age.
M: That is true. I think maybe for those kids the book might also be good. There are good things that happen in the book too, and some of the difficulties are overcome.
S: So maybe for kids whose lives are difficult in these ways and in other ways, too, this might be a good book because it shows them that other people also suffer, and maybe kindness, Maverick’s way of trying to handle life, is still an option.
S: The assistant principal at Maverick’s school has a little reminder in his office, a sentence on his wall:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”page 67
I think it is a good summary of the main message of this book.
M: I think so too.
S: It seems that the author was inspired by a real person while writing this book. There are so many people who have really difficult lives, yet they never lose their kindness. It is hard but those people do it. This book is a good reminder.
S: So let us wrap things up. How would you rate this book Marshmallow?
M: Hmm, let me see. It gets a bit hard to read sometimes, because it is so sad sometimes. But it is a good book overall. So I rate it 95%.