I like to think that most kids are basically good people, and it's nice to see that Rob Buyea, the author of Because of Mr. Terupt, agrees. The story of a rough year for a fifth grade class is told by seven kids, each of whom get their own font for the chapter headings. The kids are distinct and realistic, although each has an easy label to hide behind (new kid, brain, goof-off, etc.).
They are dealing with kid-sized problems -- girl wars, divorced parents, sad home lives, when Tragedy Strikes, which is something I always liked in my books as a kid. The kids manage to continue to deal with their kid-sized problems even as they struggle with The Tragedy, in a realistic if somewhat rose-colored way. Everyone's life is a bit better by the end of the book, which has the adult cynic in me snarking but would have pleased me in my happier kid days.
I've got A interested in reading this book, which is a first for my Cybil's take-homes so far -- she somehow thinks the Fantasy and SF books are for boys. Unfortunately the library wants it back, so I can't offer it to the boys. It will be interesting to get her views on it. And I'm glad to check off another state for my Where I'm Reading Challenge. B+