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Andrew Smith
Gameboard of the Gods
Richelle Mead
Burning Up (Berkley Sensation)
'Meljean Brook', 'Virginia Kantra', 'Angela Knight', Nalini Singh
Love and Other Perishable Items
Laura Buzo
The Orphan Master's Son
The Fourth Stall - Chris Rylander The Fourth Stall is a hilarious play on The Godfather set in an elementary school. The Godfather in question is Mac, short for MacGuyver because he’s the guy that can get you anything. And the fourth stall is and empty bathroom stall where he conducts his business. The empire is run by a small sixth grader and his best friend who loan out their services helping solve the problems of their fellow classmates for a small fee. Their business is threatened when the mysterious kingpin, Staples, starts a gambling ring at their school. Using tough high school kids and bully tactics, Staples plans on taking Mac and his friends down. Loyalties are tested when Mac finds out that there’s a mole in his organization. Can Mac hold the business together and flush out the rat at the same time or is this the end of his career? And will the Cubs make it to the World series this year?Each person in Mac’s crew had a distinct personality and I loved reading the bios of the various school bullies. I am partial to Kitten, the small and polite sociopath, who is ruthless and more than a little scary. I definitely don’t want to get on his bad side. And it was cool to see Mac band the bullies together in order to deal with Staples. I had some mixed feelings the violence in this book. On one hand, it was pretty graphic (especially for the middle grade reader that I think this book is aimed at) but on the other hand, I think there had to be real consequences to their actions in order to make the story work. And though Mac ends up using strong arm tactics to aid his own cause, he doesn't feel good about it. While the book doesn't glorify violence in the schoolyard, it doesn't shy away from it either.What drew me in though was the friendship between Mac and his best friend Vince. Their easy rapport and camaraderie seemed genuine. They were a bit like an old married couple and I was really worried when their friendship was threatened. Ultimately this is a story about friendship and family. And though I am not a sports fan, I found their dedication and obsession with The Cubs to be funny and endearing. It almost made to me want to watch a baseball game. ;)