How to Survive Middle School
How to Survive Middle School

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Annotation: When thirteen-year-old David Greenberg's best friend makes the start of middle school even worse than he feared it could be, David becomes friends with Penny, who shares his love of television shows and posts one of their skits on YouTube, making them wildly popular--online, at least.
Catalog Number: #41779
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2010
Pages: 247 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-375-85411-8 Perma-Bound: 0-605-41336-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-375-85411-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-41336-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2009021809
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
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 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 spite a late, clumsily handled revelation that his mom won't be coming home because she is too agoraphobic to travel phart crafts for her likable protagonist an engaging, feel-good transition into adolescence that's well stocked with tears and laughter.
Kirkus Reviews
David Greenberg, would-be future anchor of The Daily Show , enters middle school with problems: Longtime best friend Elliott has abandoned him for new, nastier and bigger friends, David hasn't spoken with his runaway mother in months and he's dumbstruck by a sudden crush on adorable, peppermint-scented redhead Sophie Meyers. Sophie shares David's funny videos—in which he apes Jon Stewart's style and tone as only a burgeoning sixth-grade comedian can—with her homeschooling friends, launching David into sudden Internet fame. Real life intrudes in the forms of merciless teasing by Elliott and his friends and David's desperate desire to connect with his mentally ill mother, who abandoned the family for life in rural Maine two years ago. Sensible and loving win out over mean and bullying, giving David space to balance his real and online lives. Gephart maps the hormonal, emotionally torturous terrain of pubescent boyhood with realistic dialogue, well-developed secondary characters and age-appropriate humor and insight, placing this title in the same august league as Jordan Sonnenblick's Girls, Drums and Dangerous Pie (2004). (Fiction. 10-13)
Publishers Weekly

This funny, tender novel stars 11-year-old David Greenberg, who lives with his father, older sister, and beloved grandmother (his mother left the family two years earlier). David idolizes comedian Jon Stewart and spends his days with his best friend, Elliott, uploading to YouTube episodes of his homemade show, TalkTime, which stars his pet hamster. But when middle school begins, Elliott abandons David for the school bully, and David, in turn, is befriended by formerly homeschooled new student Sophie, who loves his videos and sends them to her network of homeschooled kids. Gephart (As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President!) writes effectively about David's feelings about his family, his betrayal by Elliott, and his continued isolation: “What good does it do to have thousands of fans online when not a single person at school likes me except Sophie?” Although his observations sometimes seem too mature and the eventual resolution between David and Elliott feels anticlimactic, Gephart's story is relatable and compulsively readable. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 57 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
Word Count: 43,772
Reading Level: 3.9
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.9 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 136661 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.8 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q50041
Lexile: 660L
Guided Reading Level: Y
Fountas & Pinnell: Y
1    

The first day of summer vacation is important, because what you do that day sets the tone for the rest of summer.  

That's why my best friend, Elliott Berger, is coming over to watch the Daily Show episodes I've recorded. Mom and I used to watch them together. She always said the host, Jon Stewart, stood up for the little guy, which is funny, because Jon Stewart is a little guy--five feet seven inches. According to Wikipedia, the average height for men in the United States is five feet nine and a half inches.  

Let's just say I can totally relate to Jon's height issue.  

Anyway, I record other shows, like The Colbert Report and Late Show, too, but mostly Elliott and I watch The Daily Show. We both think Jon Stewart is hilarious and a great interviewer. Someday I'm going to be a famous talk show host like Jon.  

He and I have a lot in common.    

1. We're both Jewish.  
2. We both have our own talk shows--but mine's different from his. It's called TalkTime and I post the shows on YouTube.  
3. We're both vertically challenged (but I still have time to grow).    

Since Elliott won't be here for a while, I shoot my first TalkTime of the summer without him.  

First I set up the studio (aka my bedroom) by taping a poster of New York City's skyline on my wall, kind of like they do on the Late Show with David Letterman. That way it looks like I'm shooting in an exciting location instead of boring Bensalem, Pennsylvania, where the biggest news is that they opened a Golden Corral buffet restaurant on Street Road. (Yes, I know that's a weird name for a road, but that's what it's called. It's almost as stupid as parking in a driveway and driving on a parkway.)  

Anyway, next I make sure my special guest is ready in the greenroom (aka the bathroom).  

He is.  

Finally, I set my camera on the tripod in my bedroom, bang two empty paper-towel rolls together and say, "Action!"  

Using my best talk show host voice, I begin: "Welcome to TalkTime with David Greenberg." I scribble on a piece of paper with a grand flourish, like Jon Stewart does on The Daily Show. Then I crumple the paper, toss it into my laundry basket and keep talking. "It's our first show of the summer and it's going to be a hot one. Ha! Ha!"  

I hear Hammy's wheel spin like crazy, so I turn the camera toward his cage and give him a close-up. "And now," I say, "your moment of Hammy." As though on cue, Hammy hops off his wheel, looks up and twitches his whiskers.  

I smile and think about how I'll edit that later, showing a split screen--Hammy on the right, credits scrolling on the left.  

I point the camera back at myself and sit in front of fake New York. "Before we get to today's special guest, it's time for Top Six and a Half with David Greenberg.  

"Top Six and a Half Things That I, David Todd Greenberg, Will Miss About Longwood Elementary School.  

"One: The lunch lady who snuck ice cream onto my tray every Friday. By the way, awesome hairnet, lunch lady.  

"Two: Student of the Week, which I won a total of seven times--more than anyone in the history of Longwood El. Wahoo!"  

I pace around my room until I come up with number three. "Three: Helping Ms. Florez in the TV studio with morning announcements. She said I was the best news anchor she ever had."  

I pace again and trip on the tripod. The camera topples, but I catch it. I can edit that out later, though it'll make a weird jump in the action. It would probably be safer if I wrote my Top Six and a Half before I filmed them!   Back in front of fake New York, I take a deep breath and say, "Four: Spanish Club.  

"Five: Academic Games.  

"Six: Watching Coach Lukasik, who is definitely not vertically challenged--that man could be an NBA superstar--hula hoop during P.E. with the girls.  

"And the thing I'll miss most about Longwood El?  

"Six and one-half: Everything!"  


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpted from How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Fans of James Patterson's Middle School series will root for David as he goes from feeling as insignificant as a hamster to becoming an Internet superstar.
 
Eleven-year-old David Greenberg dreams of becoming a YouTube sensation and spends all of his time making hilarious Top 6½ Lists and Talk Time videos. But before he can get famous, he has to figure out a way to deal with:
 
6. Middle school (much scarier than it sounds!)
5. His best friend gone girl-crazy
4. A runaway mom who has no phone!
3. The threat of a swirlie on his birthday
2. A terrifying cousin
1. His # 1 fan, Bubbe (his Jewish grandmother)
1/2. Did we mention Hammy, the hamster who’s determined to break David’s heart?
 
But when David’s new best friend, Sophie, starts sending out the links to everyone she knows and her friends tell their friends, thousands of people start viewing his videos.


From the Hardcover edition.


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