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The Fourth Stall Hardcover – February 8, 2011
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"The Fourth Stall makes good use of non sequitur humor and a healthy dose of schoolyard violence to draw in even the most apprehensive young reader... a robust story rich in action, adventure, humor, and friendship."
"Rylander has created a cast of memorable and varied characters, replete with emotional as well as social lives... An excellent boy book that would do well in a father-son book discussion."
"Boys and girls alike will be biting their nails, laughing out loud and begging for the next installment. Fans of Jeff Kinney, Gordon Kormon and Jon Scieszka will find a new hero in Rylander." --Sioux Falls Argus Leader
"Sometimes middle-school readers just wanna have fun. And Rylander, thankfully, steers well clear of made-for-TV life lessons." --The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Here is an original-a story that really gets how guys are pals. It’s also funny, mysterious, and true to the heart of what really matters when you are in middle school. Do yourself a favor. Read it. Now. (Jon Scieszka, author of the Time Warp Trio series)
Debut novelist Rylander mines a substantial amount of humor and heart from this combination hard-boiled crime novel and middle-grade character piece. A light and enjoyable caper. (Publishers Weekly)
Draws in even the most apprehensive young reader… A robust story rich in action, adventure, humor, and friendship. (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
Mac narrates the tale with the arch flatness of a 1940s satire of the noir detective genre…Excellent. (ALA Booklist)
Top Customer Reviews
Grandpa isn't so sure. Mac is a grammar school "fixer". For a fee or a favor, he and his partner Vince help kids solve problems. Getting them answers to tests, forging doctor's notes or getting them video games their parents don't want them to play are the types of favors he most often performs. You know, avoiding silly rules imposed by grown-ups. Grandson thought this was fine, which is why I read the books. One day, however, Mac is confronted by a far more serious problem. A kid named Fred, who works for Mac's high school counterpart, a kid named Staples who fixes sports games and runs a bookmaking operation, has tried to quit, and now needs protection from Staples' organization. Mac agrees to take on the job. How Mac deals with Staples makes up the rest of the book.
My issue with "The Fourth Stall" is that it is ethically ambivalent, and the middle school kids who read it probably lack the maturity to realize when heroes cross the moral line. Two examples:
1. Mac is attacked by a bully used by Staples called "the Collector". He responds by hiring bullies of his own not only to punish The Collector physically, but to use social media to humiliate the kid until he leaves school.Read more ›
There are a few other (not many) very fun middle grade novels in the same vein as The Fourth Stall. Though this one stands apart because Mac isn't all that good. Mac will help other students get answers to test or sneak into PG 13 movies. After Mac said in his business he helped other students cheat, I was like uh-oh. Though then I remembered its fun to read about a character who would do something you would never do. Mac is definitely the good guy here. He's a great friend to Vince and listens to his parents.
Mac must figure out a way to get Staples operation in his school closed down. He is forced to ask the school bullies for help. One of the books strengths is back information. Mac, outlines all nine bullies, from Nubby to Kitten the top bully. Also in the beginning Mac explains how he came to acquire the fourth stall as his office. The explanation fit smoothly into the story and made sense.
Rylander tells a good and entertaining story. Some of it, like high school students going to war with middle grade students is a bit over the top. Though Mac's likability and his friendship with Vince keeps it grounded. Mac and Vince love the Chicago Cubs. They do their best to stump each other with Cubs trivia.
My favorite small character was Tyrell, the schools best spy. Mac only uses his services when he has no other choice.Read more ›
Mac thought he was mistaken when little third-grader Fred said he needed protection from the high school crime boss Staples. Staples is supposedly a myth, a legend, something to scare kids into submission. After ruling the roost for so long, Mac was shocked to hear that Staples had set up his own betting ring right under his nose. Nobody messes with Mac's turf, so Mac and Vince reluctantly agreed to protect Fred and get to the bottom of Staples's plan. They just had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
Mac immediately went to his sources. He checked with Ears, a kid who knew all the gossip, and slowly started to piece things together. First, Mac, Vince and their small gang took out Staples's collector. Then, Mac decided to round up all the bullies in the middle school --- even the psycho kid they call Kitten --- and managed to stop kids placing bets and intimidate Staples's small gang. It looked as though Mac had won, but that was before Staples sent him a little message --- a dead rat in his locker --- and paid him a visit at his home.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book, great read. Very interesting story. My son and I read it together and I even enjoyed the storyPublished 26 days ago by Cindy Leger
Great characters and dialogue but wow, these kids are doing a lot of bad things and getting into dangerous situations without letting adults know. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Julinda
Too much toilet humor. Kids are sophisticated and can read beyond this level of crass jokes.Published 2 months ago by Red Badge
I find this book and others like it manipulative and exploitative of children's baser impulses. Crossing moral lines is an easy way to create a "buzz" and to entertain,... Read morePublished 6 months ago by homefire1
Gucucgugccugyucyuccyuuycuycyucycuycu iughgighjhig jumbuck juggle chi chi Chubb to get to work for a little late and then the other side to be able and I will call in sick with my... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kris Whalen