5 Times Revenge
Adam is the prank mastermind. Perk is his best friend and the computer genius. Pearl is the prettiest girl in school—and a violin prodigy. Ray looks like a big dumb jock, but he secretly wants to be an engineer. And Dutch is the often-bullied dork who is in tune with everyone’s feelings. The five of them couldn’t be more different. But there’s one thing they have in common: they are fed up with Hill Parmer, the school bully—and his dad, their school principal who’s always turning a blind eye. When Hill finally steps over the line, the five unlikely schemers band together for a prank like their middle school has never seen. Lindsay Eland weaves the five alternate points-of-view together for an accessible and funny school story—and a friendship story—for every reader.
I really enjoyed how responsible most of the characters were. Even though Perk got tired of having to pick Tommy up from school, he clearly loved his brother and went out of his way to make sure that Tommy was safe and had a good day. Adam wants to get revenge, but decides that it's important that no one get hurt and no property gets damaged. Dutch tries very hard to take care of his grandfather, even though he clearly needs someone to take care of him. Ray works at his father's business without complaint, and Pearl is worried that her parents are divorcing because of something she has done.
That said, if I gave this book to a middle grade reader, I would want to make sure that I followed up with some conversations about what does and doesn't happen in real middle schools. I can't imagine that a principal as evil as Mr. Parmer would continue to be employed. Hill would not be able to get away with terrorizing his fellow students, even if his father was the principal. I also doubt that the school servers are secured so poorly that students can change grades and look up sensitive information about other students. While this sort of detail is used to be humorous, it would be alarming if it actually happened, and readers should understand that there is a difference between how schools are depicted in fiction and how they really should work.