Monday, December 17, 2012


Hello followers! Sorry for the delay in posts. Life got in the way.

Remember to Watch Out for Spoilers! This blog lists the content of books so each posts contains spoilers!

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Slob by Ellen Potter

Genre – drama, middle school


Number of pages – 208


Is this book part of a series? – No


Publication date – May 2009


Publisher - Penguin Group


Links to Amazon US


Formats available – eBook, Hardcover, and Paperback


Target age of reader - 12 and up


Reading level -  HL740L
** this book is listed as a High-Low book and I'm not sure why. The themes were not that intense. I'd say a plain Lexile Measurement of 740L is appropriate. See my content details below.


Description -
Twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum is the fattest kid in school. But he's also a genius who invents cool contraptions like a TV that shows the past. Something happened two years ago that he needs to see. But genius or not, there is much Owen can't outthink. Like his gym coach, who's on a mission to humiliate him. Or the way his Oreos keep disappearing from his lunch. He's sure that if he can only get the TV to work, things will start to make sense. But it will take a revelation for Owen, not science, to see the answers not in the past, but the present. That no matter how large he is on the outside, he doesn't have to feel small on the inside.


Themes of the book –
Accepting others, bullying, obesity, middle school, mean teachers, inventions, friends, mother/son relationships, dieting, being overweight, Students who have medical issues, dealing with traumatic experiences, death, fighting back, fighting for what you believe in, being brave, sticking up for yourself and others.


Main character is – Owen, a 12-year-old boy


The story takes place in - New York City


Overall rating of this book  Between PG and PG 13


** Spoiler Alert **


~ Content ~


Language, profanity – None - Owen comments that another boy said "a really bad curse word"


Sexual references or actions – None - Owen's sister is a member of GWAB "girls who are boys" but the idea and reason for this isn't explored or explained. There are no transgender aspects. This group of girls is teased once in the book and called lesbians, but just briefly and in passing. Strange - not sure why Potter put this in the book but left it so vague.

 ** Spoilers ahead!

Violence – bullying, a teacher humiliating a student on a couple of occasions, fear of being bullied or teased, a described/flashback robbery scene - gunshots, blood, deaths. Mild to moderate intensity.


Drugs, alcohol, etc – One adult character smokes


Religious themes - One character is a practicing Buddhist and some beliefs are discussed.


Character types - All human


Heads up for sensitive readers:

 - the scenes with the teacher humiliating the student could be tough for sensitive readers.
 - At the end of the story we learn that Owen's parents were killed in a horrible manner.

Is this a good title for book reports?

Yes - I feel even though this book covers some tough topics, it is not overly sad or brutal.
There will be lots of items to discuss - what would you do? students with medical issues, dealing with siblings at school, weight issues, etc.
Owen is a fantastic main character. The writing is witty and moves quickly. The story opens with a splash and will capture young readers. It will appeal to both boys and girls.


You can read my review of this story by clicking here. That link will bring you to Amazon.

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Have you read this title? Did one of your students pick it up for a book report? What are your thoughts?

This is another book on bullying - a passing trend or do you feel it's here to stay?

Please leave your comments below.

Thanks for stopping!

~ Jenna

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