The sequel to this book has just come out (7 August 2012), but readers will be well-advised to pick up the funny first book before diving in to Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit. In the first book, Charlie Joe is proud of the fact that he's never read a book all the way through. He knows how to convince teachers that he has, and has an arrangement with one of his friends to trade book information for ice cream sandwiches. He's got the system down: e.g. if parents say "read three chapters", they can be one or two page chapters. When projects loom and his plans fall apart due to the vagaries of middle school alliances and relationships, Charlie Joe may be forced to do some actual reading.
Strengths: Charlie Joe never starts to LOVE to read. Hooray! Mr. Greenwald clearly road tested this book on actual boys, so this clever book rings true. The realignments in romances, and the descriptions of the girls Charlie Joe likes are really brilliant, and I adored this tip on page 123: " If you have to read, read about girls. It helps you understand them better." Validation from an actual boy for Boys Read Pink Month. I'll see if Mr. Greenwald will sponsor us! This was a great book, although a bit long for truly reluctant readers. Will it trick them? Hmmm.