Author: Harrell, Rob
After being diagnosed with a rare eye cancer, twelve-year-old Ross discovers how music, art, and true friends can help him survive both treatment and middle school.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.90
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 508415
Kirkus Reviews (12/01/19)
School Library Journal (02/01/20)
Booklist (+) (02/15/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2020 Gr 3–6—Ross Maloy is a middle schooler with bigger problems than most. Diagnosed with a rare eye tumor, he is challenged to maintain normalcy despite taxing cancer treatments. Afraid of pity, Ross also fears losing his close friends Abby and Isaac. Ross's alter ego is Batpig, a character in his comic where he takes refuge from health challenges, relationship problems, anonymous trolls, and hurtful internet memes. He befriends a medical technician who is also a musician, and soon is motivated to learn guitar and perform in a band. The story's beauty lies in how Ross's life unfolds and opens. He forms a ragtag group of friends while undergoing monumental challenges. In response to Ross's cry for normalcy, one close friend, Jerry, says normal shouldn't be the goal: "Different moves the needle. Different is where the good stuff happens. There's strength in different." VERDICT This title is delightfully good and different. Readers will be interested to know that Harrell draws from his personal experience. There are witty comic panels and other art interspersed throughout the text. Highly recommended.—Lisa Gieskes, Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/15/2020 *Starred Review* In a story more realistic than but filled with the same sardonic humor and celebration of atypical friendships as his Life of Zarf series, Harrell draws from personal experience to track the wild emotional roller coaster a seventh-grader rides after being diagnosed with a rare tear-duct cancer. All Ross really wants to do is keep his head down in public as he goes through an operation and 45 sessions of proton radiotherapy. Unfortunately, what with having to endure all the “Concern Face” from grown-ups and certain peers and the mortifying necessity of wearing a protective broad-brimmed hat at all times—not to mention the series of ugly Cancer Cowboy memes that show up on everyone’s phones at school—there’s no hope of anonymity. But along with providing helpfully specific details of Wink’s medical treatments, the author supplies him with a truly outstanding supporting cast led by Abby, a frank, extroverted, and longtime bosom buddy. Besides tempests and meltdowns, Wink also finds several effective strategies for coping with his grief and anger, including wish-fulfillment episodes on pages of hand-drawn comics featuring caped crime fighter Batpig (supplemented by frequent spot art). What with betrayals and wrenching departures, Wink may not get quite the ending he hopes for, but he and the readers who have joined him on the ride are left to carry on with a smile. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.