A seventh grade prankster is determined to escape the all-girls academy where he’s the only boy—by getting expelled—in this “spectacular debut” (Kirkus Reviews) MAX novel that’s perfect for “fans of Jerry Spinelli’s Crash and Loser” (Booklist).
Seventh grader Jeremy Miner has a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. 475 of them to be exact. That’s how many girls attend his school, St. Edith’s Academy.
Jeremy is the only boy left after the school’s brief experiment in co-education. And he needs to get out. His mother—a teacher at the school—won’t let him transfer, so Jeremy takes matters into his own hands: he’s going to get expelled.
Together with his best friend Claudia, Jeremy unleashes a series of hilarious pranks in hopes that he’ll get kicked out with minimal damage to his permanent record. But when his stunts start to backfire, Jeremy has to decide how far he’s willing to go and whom he’s willing to knock down to get out the door.
Malone's debut is a sweet, candid novel about fitting in, messing up, and making amends. After seventh grader Jeremy Miner's Massachusetts private school reverts to enrolling girls only, every boy at St. Edith's leaves except him. Since his single mother is a school employee and he attends free of charge, it isn't an option. Malone creates a charmingly hapless protagonist in Jeremy, who, feeling outnumbered, decides that he'll attempt to get expelled. He enlists the aid of his friend, Claudia, a headstrong aspiring filmmaker, who announces a one-word strategy: "Pranks." Harmless shenanigans (such as assembling stolen garden gnomes at the school's entrance) turn dangerous when Jeremy and Claudia tamper with doorknobs, and a classmate has an asthma attack while locked in the bathroom. Jeremy's doubts about his scheme magnify when his innocent sister is implicated in a prank, and his mother learns the truth. Jeremy's self-deprecating, sardonic humor and Claudia's ample self-confidence generate some authentically funny episodes as Malone's story addresses individuality, conformity, and finding friendship. Ages 8 12.