Carlos Is Gonna Get It
What would *you* do?
How strange is Carlos? REALLY strange. He scratches himself all the time, and he talks about aliens in this weird shaky voice, and he breaks up the class and gets everyone else in trouble when it's *his* fault he's such a freak.
So Trina, Donte, Thea, Sara, and Frankie decide to use the upcoming 7th-grade class trip to "get" Carlos and scare him into acting normal. But when Trina has to work with Carlos on a class project, she discovers both his sweetness and the full extent of his troubles. Will she pull out of the plan or go through with it? And what will happen if--when--Carlos gets it?
Carlos is Gonna Get It, by Kevin Emerson, is a quiet sort of book, the kind I call a sleeper. There are no vampires swooping down at the reader, no werewolves or other undead limping sideways down the streets. Its not a love story (although there are a few teenagers making eyes at each other), and theres not even any fighting in it (although there are a few juicy threats, and a scene where a science project gets scattered all over the classroom); yet this book held my interest and kept me eagerly turning pages until the very end.
This coming-of-age story revolves around the life of middle-schooler Trina and her friends, Sara, Thea, Donte and Frankie. Oh yes, and a pain-in-the-rear special student who cant control himself named Carlos.
Trina is a typical middle-schooler who finds herself following the crowd to be accepted, even when they encourage her to do things she knows she shouldnt. Like ignore Carlos, a short, skinny outcast who cant stop scratching himselfand who is convinced that aliens are trying to kidnap him and take him to another world.
Trina actually likes little weird Carlos, and even speaks to himwhen no one else is around to see, that is. But when Trinas teacher pairs her with Carlos for a science project, things take a wrong turn and Trinas feelings change. Carlos, who always has nervous scratching fits, cant control himself during the presentation and ends up ruining everything. Before Trina knows it, Carlos is scratching like a chicken, the presentation is scattered all over the floor, and Trina has a beaker of dyed-red vinegar dripping down her face.
Although Trina knows this public humiliation really isnt Carlos fault, shes still embarrassed for her friends to see her this way. So she agrees to help them get Carlos during the end-of-the-year camping trip. Since Carlos trusts Trina, she agrees to lead him high up a lonely mountain trail, where her vindictive friends will dress as aliens and teach him the lesson of a lifetime.
As the camping trip gets closer and closer, Trina begins to regret agreeing to trick Carlos, but she cant figure out how to get out of it. At last she gives in and participates in the trick, but the plan goes all wrong. A storm rolls in while they are at the top of the mountain, and Carlos goes into hiding. For the rest of the night, teachers and students hunt for Carlos as the lightning flashes, the thunder cracks, and the wind howls.
Needless to say, this horrible turn of events helps Trina do a whole lot of growing up. She suddenly realizes how dangerous pranks can be, and decides she no longer cares what her friends or anyone else thinks about Carlos: She will be his friend no matter what. The only problem is, Carlos no longer wants to be her friend, and nothing she says or does can change his mind.
Carlos is Gonna Get It is a bittersweet read about peer pressure, growing up, and making choices that come at the highest price of all: losing a friend.
This one gets two thumbs up.