How to Win a Slime War

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How to Win a Slime War
Age Range
Release Date
September 14, 2021
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Alex Manalo and his dad have just moved back to Sacramento to help out with their extended family's struggling Filipino market. While Alex likes helping in the store, his true passion is making slime! He comes up with his own recipes and plays with ingredients, colors, and different bumpy or sparkly bits, which make his slime truly special. A new friend encourages Alex to sell his creations at school, which leads to a sell-off battle with a girl who previously had a slime-opoly. Winner gets bragging rights and the right to be the only slime game in town.

But Alex's dad thinks Alex should be focused more on "traditional" boy pastimes and less on slime. As the new soccer coach, Dad gets Alex to join the team. Even though he hates sports, Alex gives in.

Alex is battling on multiple fronts--with his new friends at school, and with his dad at home. It will be a sticky race to the finish to see who oozes out on top.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
A feel-good story of friends, family, and slime.
(Updated: October 19, 2021)
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
It’s sometimes hard to find unique topics to write about, but how many books actually feature slime created by middle-grade students? The slime doesn’t become a monster, and it doesn’t terrorize the students. It’s just gooey, colorful, slime, and it’s for sale. The science teacher even makes it the subject of her first unit which gives Alex permission to practice making slime at home. Many chapters in the book begin with recipes for different kinds of slime, so young readers can make their own batches at home while they read the story!
Several subplots are skillfully interwoven with the slime war, and they mesh into an overall wonderful story. Alex’s father was a renowned athlete when he was younger, and he pushes Alex to join a soccer team. Of course, Alex has no interest in sports, so an internal conflict ensues. His father also now owns the Filipino market created by Alex’s retired grandparents, but Alex is concerned that some popular features of the business will be eliminated by his father. How will his grandparents react when they find out? Meredith currently controls the slime market at school, and the slime war will determine if Alex will replace her. However, Alex is uneasy about his business partner’s marketing strategies, and Alex slowly discovers important secrets about his competitor. It’s important to put yourself in other people’s shoes to fully understand their behaviors, and the two competitors transform their relationship to resolve the slime war.
Alex is a good, honest character who cares about doing the right thing. Meredith treats him like an enemy, but Alex tries to treat her kindly when they interact. When she creates a smear video about his slime, Alex refuses to retaliate by making negative comments against her. He even tries to work with her when they’re partnered in science class. Alex respects his father by following his rules and instructions even though Alex doesn’t agree with everything his father says. He doesn’t like playing soccer but agrees to join a team to make his father happy. He respectfully questions his father about changes to the market and displays empathy for his grandparents, Lola and Lolo. Alex enjoys spending time with his older cousins, and they provide valuable guidance. The character relationships create a truly wonderful feel-good story.
What didn’t work as well:
Some readers prefer rebellious characters and dramatic confrontations, but this book will disappoint them. The characters aren’t perfect, but their actions aren’t evil or overly devious. The typical middle-school bully doesn’t do anything terribly bad, and he displays encouragement toward Alex as the soccer season moves on. The kid’s two-faced behavior doesn’t make him likable, but it doesn’t create much negativity either. However, the book develops positive feelings between friends and family, so the author’s writing strategy is a huge success.
The Final Verdict:
A feel-good story of friends, family, and slime. A middle school being so obsessed with slime isn’t realistic, but it forms the basis for an engaging story. The positivity of the main character makes this a must-read for young readers.
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Having the Slime of His Life
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Alex Manalo and his father have moved into his Lola and Lolo's house, since his father is tired of his Silicon Valley job and will be taking over the family Filipino market now that his grandparents are retired. Alex isn't too concerned about his new school, and he even deals well with the fact that his mother died when he was young. What is hard for him is that, while he is generally supportive, his father really doesn't understand Alex and his interests. Alex has long hair, and would rather be making slime than doing anything else. He is interested in the store, because he wants to be an entrepreneur. His father, however, played soccer in school and wants Alex to play... and he'll even coach! At school, Alex makes a fast friend in Logan, who is on the outs with his own best friend, and who introduces Alex to the history of the school's Slime Wars. There is another girl, Meadow, who is the reigning Slime Queen, and she is NOT happy about Alex cutting into her market, even though the school has forbidden even having slime at school, much less buying and selling it. Alex and Meadow start the Slime War, and will compete to see who can sell the most slime in a week, without getting caught. Alex has a rocky start, and also struggles with being goalie on his dad's soccer team, but makes a valiant effort, even going door to door to try to sell slime! Meadow is very cut throat and mean to Alex, but he starts to wonder if there is something behind her meanness. Alex's father is making a lot of changes at the Manalo Market to update it and bring in new business, but Alex does not like how his father is stripping the store of its personality and Filipino culture. Will Alex be able to stay out of trouble at school, be able to follow his own interests, and convince his father to keep some aspects of the family business?
Good Points
Even though I hate slime (the science classes make it, and I've had to clean enough of it out of the library carpet!), I love books where children have a definite passion. I'm not quite sure how widespread the love of slime is (apparently there is a social media personality who touts it), but there are a lot of recipes for the substance at the beginning of each chapter. The ins and outs of having a family business, along with being close to family for a change, are fun to read about. The students are operating outside of the school rules, which specifically forbid slime, and this is done in a realistic way. Meadow is a great character; we don't see a lot of her at first, and she is quite mean, but when Alex gets to know her, he understands the pressures she is under, tries to help her, and the two end up coming up with a solution to the ongoing Slime Wars. The father's interest in soccer and insistence that Alex get involved in a sport is very realistic. I started coaching cross country in order to get my daughter to run, and while she didn't like the running part, she did have a good time and made some friends. This is exactly the sort of middle grade book that I wish made up the majority of my purchases, since it's what my students most often request: humorous, upbeat stories of children from a variety of backgrounds doing Interesting Things while having a bit of school drama. Perfect.

This is exactly the sort of middle grade book that I wish made up the majority of my purchases, since it's what my students most often request: humorous, upbeat stories of children from a variety of backgrounds doing Interesting Things while having a bit of school drama. Perfect for fans of Gordon Korman, Richards' Stu Truly, Acampora's Danny Constantino's First Date and Uhrig's Double the Danger and Zero Zucchini.
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