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Save Me a Seat

For Grades 4-7. I was told by my colleague, the fabulous children’s librarian Linnea Moosmann about Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t get to it right away (so many books, so little time).  I have two regrets about the book.  One, that I didn’t read it sooner so I could shout off the library rooftop about how good it is, and two, the loss of sleep I had because I couldn’t put it down.  Ravi has just moved to the United States from India after his father got a promotion at his company.  Ravi is so excited to show off his intelligence, but nobody understands his English, and math is done differently in the United States so his correct answers aren’t even considered right.  Worse yet, the classroom bully is targeting him.  Now Joe, who sits behind him in class has problems of his own.  That same bully has been making his life miserable for years, his mother has taken a job as a lunchroom monitor and his new teacher doesn’t seem to understand his learning problems.  The plot is incredibly fast moving and reading it makes you feel like you are in a pressure cooker (in a really good way). Told in the rotating voices of Joe and Ravi, the entire story takes place in one week.  This story has great, rich, well-developed characters and is perfect for fans of Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  Reviewed by Rebecca Teglas.