Selling Points: "School, bullying, humor"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Mar/01/2008
Lexile Level: HL620L
Fry Reading Level: 3.9
Fiction Ages 10-14
"Cut it out!" the driver shouted. He might have said it again, but I couldn't tell for sure over all the noise.
In a weird way, I was having fun. When some of the kids around me started laughing, I laughed too. I reached for the ball of paper that had landed on the floor and threw it as hard as I could toward the back of the bus.
"Hey, new guy!" a voice called. "You pitch like a girl!"
I bristled. It was my own fault; I'd called attention to myself.
I knew whatever I did next was important. This was what my mom would call a defining moment. She says life is all about defining moments, only most people miss them. They're too busy doing other stuff.
The students of the 121 Express are infamous for bad behavior and Lucas knows his role on the bus will determine his social standing at his new school. Lucas is tired of being one of the nerds. When he attracts the negative attention of the cool troublemakers, he saves himself by teasing another kid. His ploy works and soon Lucas is right in the center of the mayhem on the bus. He loves his new found popularity, but when the fun and games push the bus driver to a nervous collapse and hospitalizes an elderly lady, Lucas begins to question his choices.
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media - September 1, 2011
"Teens will appreciate the desire to fit in with the cool crowd and will laugh at the pranks."
Montreal Review of Books - April 1, 2009
"Explores weighty topics - racism, self-respect, compassion - without preaching, through an honest narrator to whom readers can relate."
CM Magazine - February 22, 2008
"The plot and characters...provide good basic morals for teens who read at a lower level. Recommended."
ALA Popular Paperbacks, long-listed
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