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One-Third Nerd
Cover of One-Third Nerd
One-Third Nerd
A funny, fast-paced, and heartfelt story from the Newbery Honor-winning author of the Al Capone series.Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than...
A funny, fast-paced, and heartfelt story from the Newbery Honor-winning author of the Al Capone series.Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than...
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  • A funny, fast-paced, and heartfelt story from the Newbery Honor-winning author of the Al Capone series.
    Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters. Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggles to make friends; Izzy, a child with Down syndrome, makes friends easily and notices things that go past everyone else. Dad lives across town, but he's over a lot. And then there's Cupcake, their lovable German shepherd, who guards their basement apartment.
    Recently, Cupcake has a problem—she's peeing in the house. The kids need to make enough money to take her to the vet before their landlord upstairs finds out. And Mom and Dad have said if Cupcake doesn't stop, they will find her a new home. But the kids will never let Cupcake go. Can they save her?

Excerpts-

  • From the cover Fifth grade is not for amateurs.
     
    You have to watch yourself. Kids notice stuff.
     
    What books you read. What sports you follow. What devices you own. And how nerdy you are.
     
    A little nerdy is good; you can fix the game controller. But if you’re the kid who gets the teacher’s website up and running so everyone has more homework . . . that’s too nerdy.
     
    And then there are the subtle things, like how you raise your hand. Should you raise it high and eager? Low and mouselike? Rotate your palm? Flap it all around? Or does your arm come up straight and slow like a log on a pulley?
     
    Same with turning your homework in. Do you put it on the top of the pile? Or the bottom? Do you fold it like a paper airplane and fly it to your teacher’s desk? Deliver it by drone? Or do you send it up the classroom aisle in the mouth of a robotic device?
     
    I could probably manage all this okay if it weren’t for my sisters.
     
    Dakota, the third grader, is the worst.
     
    I finally get up the courage to talk to the girl everyone thinks is cute and Dakota shouts across the playground, “Liam, I need toilet paper from the boys’ bathroom. There’s none in the girls’.”
     
    Izzy, the second grader, is a hugger. The custodian, the crossing guard, my coach . . . Izzy hugs everyone.
     
    Unfortunately, my sisters and I look alike: blond hair, blue eyes, and on the short side, so I can’t hide the fact that I’m their brother.
     
    Then there’s our dog, Cupcake, a black and tan German shepherd with crooked front teeth and shiny black lips. Cupcake has little accidents in our apartment.
     
    Did I mention we live under the landlord?
     
    Not that poor pee control would be a good idea in any house, but it’s especially bad when you live close to your landlord.
     
    Other problems? Cupcake howls when the microwave dings. And Izzy sings all the time.
     
    Luckily, the landlord, Mr. Torpse, is hard of hearing. Once he takes his hearing aids out, Izzy can sing as much as she wants. How do we know they’re out? He turns his TV up so loud it’s like the voice of our principal booming from the PA at school.
     
    We hear every sound Torpse makes. When he belches, shouts at the radio, or goes to the toilet. Plus, he spies on us. He says he only comes downstairs to water the plants, right outside his window, but since there’s nothing to water but dried-up weeds, I wonder.
     
    So I don’t bring friends to our apartment. I don’t tell people where I live. I don’t even write my address on the forms at school.
     
    The only person who knows the truth is my best friend, Dodge, and he won’t tell anyone.
     
    Dodge comes over every day. His grandpa Crash watches us if my mom has to work late. Some days, Crash can’t get out of work either, and then I’m the one in charge for a little while.
     
    I don’t see Crash’s car, so I’m guessing today will be one of those days.
     
    Dodge, Dakota, and I walk from the bus stop. We climb down the steep stairs to our apartment, careful to avoid the rotted wood steps that sink when you step on them. I pull the blue key with the smiley-face sticker out from under my shirt, where it hangs on a string, and I unlock the door.
     
    Inside, I open the patio slider to let Cupcake in. She is crazy excited to see me, jumping all around.
     
    I follow Dodge to the tiny kitchen. Dodge finds...

About the Author-

  • Hi, I'm Sasha Choldenko, Gennifer's German shepherd, and I'd like to add my two doggy biscuits here. Gennifer says she's written fourteen books for kids, but how many are for dogs? Lately, I've decided to take matters into my own paws. I am recommending these changes to Gennifer's previous books: Dog Does My Shirts, Dog Shines My Shoes, Dog Does My Homework, Al Capone Throws His Dog a Stick, and my personal favorite, Chasing Cats. Send your fan mail directly to me. Bones of any kind are also welcome.

    If you must, visit her online at gennifercholdenko.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/gennifer.choldenko, and on Twitter at @choldenko.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 22, 2018
    Fifth grader Liam lives in a basement apartment with his mom, his two younger sisters (promising third grade scientist/resident nerd Dakota and second grade expert hugger Izzy), and their accident-prone German shepherd, Cupcake. Cupcake’s bathroom issues push their cranky upstairs neighbor and landlord, Mr. Torpse (also known as Torpse the Corpse), to an ultimatum: either Cupcake goes or the whole family must. Though their divorced mother and father implore the siblings to accept that Cupcake must be rehomed, the kids carry out schemes to keep the dog. Black-and-white spot illustrations by Ceulemans faithfully depict the unique personalities of Liam’s siblings and friends, including new kid Moses, whom Liam desperately wants to impress. Choldenko (the Al Capone at Alcatraz series) subtly emphasizes Liam’s stress about being the responsible, oldest sibling; his parents’ divorce; and insecurity about the family’s modest lifestyle. It is Liam’s quiet thoughtfulness and relationship with his sisters, especially his interest in their lives—Izzy’s Down syndrome social group “the Forty-Sevens” and Dakota’s impulsive experiments—that let him shine just as bright as his two extroverted sisters. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Hannah Whitty, Plum Pudding Illustration.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Maxwell Glick plays up the gross humor in the latest middle-grade novel from the author of AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS. Liam strives to find the perfect balance of attitude and actions to achieve total coolness in fifth grade, but his younger sisters seem to destroy his chances at every step. Glick packs the voices of the children with character: Liam's awkwardness, Dakota's know-it-all sass, and Izzy's gentle sweetness. The mother's Australian accent comes out slow and a bit strained, though that fits her constant exasperation at the antics of her children as they try to save their incontinent dog from eviction. Glick's upbeat tone finds the hope in a meandering plot that tackles myriad issues, including divorce, poverty, and having a sibling with Down syndrome. S.T.C. ďż˝ AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine

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