When I went to my 5th grade son's beginning-of-the-year conference over a month ago, I asked this and that and other things and among my questions was whether Zack could return a library book he hated and wasn't finishing.
The answer was NO. He's already halfway done, he NEEDS to finish it.
That was 5 weeks ago.
Since then he's read 3 books, spent over 100 hour learning computer coding, trained a dog and grown three inches.
He doesn't want to finish this book but he can't return it (ughhh) and he has an AR test on to earn points and without those AR points he is a shunned loser. Sad face.
Zack freaks out about school, let me put that on the table. His concern is equal parts anxiety over tests that may or may not happen, anxiety over anticipated boredom and anxiety over anticipated frustration. It takes every bit of my soul to get him to go to school every day despite his asking WHYYY he can't be homeschooled and whyyyy he can't skip to college.
He missed school on Friday and his homework was to read.
I tried to get him to read this book but he found 15 other interesting things to do --- All of them were important, all of them were engaging and mentally stimulating, nothing he expected from this book (at least he knows there are BETTER books, right???/)
On Saturday I dared him to finish the book before I could.
He shook his head. Mom, it's 230 pages. I'm at 170. You literally can't beat me.
I take that as a challenge and start the book this morning after finishing book #85. All the sudden I think all parents should read everything their kids read because if I'd started this book with him I'd have told the library to GIVE HIM A BETTER BOOK.
Nothing against this book, but it's crazy. Silly, unrealistically unethically crazy.
There are dog attacks but no arrests and kids roaming New York City unchaperoned and kids getting attack dogs out of the pound but no paperwork and ID (???) and kids finding lost Russian dog trainers in dangerous neighborhoods full of condemned apartments. Yuck.
The line of fiction is so strangely blurred that I wish this book had been set in the 1950s or 2020s because setting it 2010 made it crazy. And silly.
And that's why my son put it down. He like hard problems, he likes intriguing mysteries. He stayed on the computer to take 140 math quizzes so he could "get all the top scores" -- so he isn't lazy. He just got bored by a book that was written by an author completely out of touch.
So now that I've read the book I can tell you that it is NOT worth the investment of his time.
No great truth is learned. Kids break rules, sneak a dog, fix a robot, and almost win a prize but find the real prize is friendship. Whatever.
I told Zack I'll give him skittles when he finishes the book, but only if he promises to NEVER check out a book by this author again.
Not finishing a book makes a kid look bad, but I deeply believe that knowing you have a bad book and putting that book down is a sign of great maturity.
Sigh. Oh Well. He still has to finish it, and its costing me skittles.
If you have a smart son who is also in 5th grade, please steer him away from this silly book about dog shows, robots and nothing. Thank me later.