From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 5–7—As a huge fan of comedic TV anchorman Jon Stewart, David Greenberg creates original Talk Time videos starring himself and his hamster, and posts them on YouTube. His former friend, Elliott, used to collaborate on the videos, but now chooses to hang out with Tommy Murphy, an infamous bully who besets David, a lowly sixth grader. Short and scrawny, David is an easy target for Tommy's depredations, yet he simultaneously wins the friendship and loyalty of sweet Sophie, who tells all her friends to view his hilarious videos and post great comments, bringing good publicity to David, who intends to become a famous talk-show host. Then Hammy dies, and after Tommy subjects David to the ultimate indignity of a swirlie, he wonders what good is it to be famous online while being called Lameberg at school. Part of his problem is that he misses his mother, who abandoned the family for another man, as well as the fact that he insulted his older sister by mocking her acne treatments in his videos. Then there's Elliott, whose fickle behavior defies understanding, but who eventually returns to being David's friend. Things start to look up with the exciting news that David's clever videos will be aired on The Daily Show
. With short chapters and broad humor, this one is for "Wimpy Kid" aficionados (Abrams).—Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
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Oy, but David Greenberg has troubles: he is still missing his mother two years after she moved to another state; his longtime best friend, Elliott, has been behaving like a schmuck since hitting puberty; and even before the first day at Harmon (aka “Hormone”) Middle School, he has become a feared bully’s victim of choice. On the other hand, though his father is distant, his live-in grandmother is a reliable provider of food and support; his teenage sister Lindsey is always good for a quick hug; and he has really hit it off with new classmate Sophia—a smart, peppermint-scented, and refreshingly unselfconscious ex-homeschooler. Best of all (maybe), the Daily Show–style videos he has been posting on YouTube have gone viral, and suddenly he is a local celebrity. Readers will understand how good David really has it long before he does, and—despite a late, clumsily handled revelation that his mom won’t be coming home because she is too agoraphobic to travel—Gephart crafts for her likable protagonist an engaging, feel-good transition into adolescence that’s well stocked with tears and laughter. Grades 5-8. --John Peters
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