Book: Speechless

Author: Jennifer Mook-Sang

Cover Illustrator: Michela Sabine Fierro

Publisher: Scholastic Canada, 2015

ISBN-13: 978-1443142670

ISBN-10: 1443142670

Related website(s): http://www.scholastic.ca (publisher)

Language level: 2

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 9-13

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: General youth fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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     Mook-Sang, Jennifer.  Speechless (Published in 2015 by Scholastic Canada Ltd., 604 King St. West, Toronto, ON  M5V 1E1, Canada).  Eleven year old Joseph (Joe) Alton Miles, nicknamed Jelly because his initials are J. A. M., lives with his father David who owns an electronics store, and his mother Gracie, and is a sixth-grader at Sherwood Forest Public School, where his best friends are twin brother and sister Parker and Sam Brown.  Jelly would rather be playing video games with P.B. than preparing for the school’s speech contest.  Besides, his nemesis and the class know it all, Victoria, has always won previous contests.  But this year’s awesome prize, a brand new tablet computer with accessories including a gaming controller, attract his attention.  And if he wins, he’ll finally have the last word with Victoria.  But then everything seems to start going horribly wrong.

     First, Jelly is accused of bullying when he accidentally hits a bratty boy named Spencer on the bus.  Then Victoria spreads a rumor around the school that Jelly’s first round speech was plagiarized.  And worse yet, Parker, who is now hanging around with one of Victoria’s friends named Elsa, appears to believe the rumor.   What can Joe do to regain his reputation as a nice kid?  Is there any way that his friendship with P. B. can be salvaged?  And who will win the final round of the speech contest?  The childish slang term “butt” is used for the human posterior several times.  Otherwise, this humorous, well written story that touches on the problem of school bullying has a believable plot with real-life characters.  It is both entertaining and inspirational.

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