Josh Baxter Levels Up

 
4.5
 
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Josh Baxter Levels Up
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
February 23, 2016
ISBN
9780545772945
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Josh Baxter is sick and tired of hitting the reset button. It's not easy being the new kid for the third time in two years. One mistake and now the middle school football star is out to get him. And Josh's sister keeps offering him lame advice about how to make friends, as if he needs her help finding allies! Josh knows that his best bet is to keep his head down and stay under the radar. If no one notices him, nothing can touch him, right? But when Josh's mom sees his terrible grades and takes away his video games, it's clear his strategy has failed. Josh needs a new plan, or he'll never make it to the next level, let alone the next grade. He's been playing not to lose. It's time to play to win.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Video games relate to life!
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Josh's mother has moved him and his sister yet again for her job, because it's been difficult finding employment after the death of Josh's father. He's not thrilled about his new school, especially after a disastrous first day that includes putting his combination lock on the wrong locker and leaving his clothes in the girls' locker room. Luckily, he is saved by Maya and welcomed into her group of friends. On the down side, though, he's managed to irritate football player Henry Schmittendorf, aka Mittens, and isn't keeping up with his schoolwork. His mother, wise woman that she is, takes away his video games, and his grades improve! He does get limited access when he has to practice for a video game decathlon that his school is hosting for a fundraiser, but he finds-- to his own great surprise-- that if he puts in the effort with his school work that he puts into his gaming, that he is less stressed and his life is happier!
Good Points
The characters in this were all wonderfully drawn. Josh's escape into video games makes sense given his situation, but it's nice to see him decide that it's not a successful escape. His mother and sister are very supportive, even if he doesn't always take their advice. Even Mittens is realistically portrayed as a fellow student who is more popular and uses his position to try to make Josh's life more difficult. My favorite character is probably Maya, and I loved that she and Josh were friends and video game competitors well before he decides to ask her to the school dance.

Since I have never played video games, there were many references that I didn't get, but any young aficionado of Mario Cart and other games will love the chapter endings with Josh's "score", and delight in how big a part the games play in Josh's life.

This book just goes to prove that a book doesn't have to be boring and have an obscure topic or setting to be informative and helpful. Tween readers will love this title, and I hope that we see more books about Josh Baxter!
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