Middle-school readers will empathize with aptly named Calvin Schwa as he tries to raise his own visibility while discovering why his mother disappeared. Amusing incidents and solid characterization carry this story to its poignant conclusion.
Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship.
When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully -- the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equalizer.