From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-Holly fears that she will soon have a stepmother. Greg admires a girl and hopes to be her boyfriend. Claire has nightmares. William thinks he is useless at everything. Samantha misses her dad, who has left their family to marry another woman. Lisa is frightened by her angry father. Natasha wants to be in the school concert but is uneasy because she is in a wheelchair. These students are all in the same class. Mr. Speed is their fast-moving, funny, and caring teacher who offers The Worry Web Site to his students in an effort to provide the opportunity for them to type in their concerns anonymously. Members of the class address one another's problems by adding their comments. Mr. Speed oversees and quietly intervenes when necessary. Each chapter relates the story of one student. Character development is slight but sufficient and is enhanced by the interaction of the students with one another throughout the book. Their problems are realistic in that some of them do not have clear solutions. Wilson shows that she understands the lives, fears, and worries of young people, and the book has enough suspense, enhanced by frequent humor, for reluctant readers.Rebecca Sheridan, Easttown Library & Information Center, Berwyn, PA
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Gr. 3-6. Mr. Speed is an ingenious teacher. When his students reject "circle time," an open class discussion in which people "confide the sort of problem that should remain a deadly secret," Mr. Speed invents "The Worry Web Site." Here his students can anonymously post their anxieties and receive online advice from their classmates (and from the compassionate Mr. Speed). Each chapter in Wilson's latest novel is narrated by a different student, who elaborates on his or her worry. The dilemmas range from the powerful disorientation of a first crush to the pain of divorce and a parent's abandonment. Wilson wrote the book's first chapter as part of an online writing contest, in which children invented their own student worries, and she includes the winning entry, a story about domestic violence. The relevant subjects, the earnest, often funny voices, and the warm advice of endearing goofball Mr. Speed make these pieces dead on for the middle-grade audience. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved