Monday, August 31, 2015

Saving Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea, 2015

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Seventh grade was going to be awesome. The only thing missing was Mr. Terupt.
The kids from Mr. Terupt’s fifth- and sixth-grade classes are entering their first year of junior high school. There’s a lot to be excited about, but there are new challenges, too. Peter and Jeffrey face tough competition on their wrestling team. Alexia has a disastrous first day of school, and that’s only the beginning. Anna is desperate for Charlie to propose to her mother—what is he waiting for?! Danielle isn’t feeling so well, but she's trying to tough it out, like Grandma. Trouble with a bully makes Lukedread going to school for the first time ever. And Jessica is waiting anxiously for an acceptance to a theater retreat in New York City.
Everyone is missing Mr. Terupt. When a fight threatens to break up the group forever, they think their favorite teacher is the only one who can help them. But the kids soon find out that it’s Mr. Terupt who needs saving.
This novel includes extra content in the back of the book. Readers will find a Junior High Survival Guide with tips from the old gang!

(384 pages)

I've loved these books since Because of Mr. Terupt was a standalone, and I didn't even have a book blog. Thus many of you may not know how much I love the Terupt books. Let me tell you now: I. Love. Them. Which is why I was over the moon when I found out that Saving Mr. Terupt was actually a thing. A third Terupt book? Sign me up! I requested it from the library immediately (instead of pre-ordering it, because I was out of shelf space and trying to teach myself the Art of Patience), and snapped it up the day it came in (which was three days after its release date, thank you very much. I hate really don't like my library). I devoured it that same day.

The first thing I discovered was that it had been too long since I read the first two books. It took me a few chapters to remember the ins and outs of who was who. It didn't help that there were three girls and three boys (all conveniently crushing on each other in three neat pairs), and the girls sometimes got kind of muddled together. Then there were pieces of peoples' pasts that I had to scramble to remember, especially Jeffrey's - the whole dead brother thing is never explained at all in this book, and it took me a while to remember what on earth was going on with him. My other main complaint is that it felt like things were constantly escalating. Not that escalating tension is a bad thing (and frankly, Buyea did a great job in general with it), but that every single stinkin' chapter ended with "little did we know, it was just the calm before the storm," or something to that effect. It's like, I get it. Things are going to get worse. Quit saying that and start showing me.

But then, I also really liked how things continued to escalate throughout the book. We start out all happy and gay, excited about a new school year and pledging to remain the best of friends, and then slowly sink lower and lower into the tension and stress that is middle school, until everyone is at pretty much complete odds with each other. I still absolutely adore Mr. Terupt, and I was completely behind everything the gang did as they fought to help him. I saw literally every twist coming (except the one with Jessica, when she went you-know-where and met you-know-who), but that didn't stop me from feeling bad for Mr. Terupt, and rooting for him to come out on top.

I always loved how there were so many different characters telling the story in the Terupt books, because it allowed a more complete view of events - and it made it possible to actually have six main characters I could still keep straight (most of the time). I continued to enjoy reading about six very different kids in Saving Mr. Terupt, and I appreciated the fact that they were all struggling with very different issues throughout the book and yet the narration never began to feel disjointed.

All in all, I really enjoyed Saving Mr. Terupt. I don't think it's quite as good as the first two books, but they're so good that it's only in comparison that it comes up (slightly) lacking. I still recommend it to all fans of the previous books, and would even recommend it on its own merits to people who haven't read the rest of the series, except it wouldn't make one bit of sense if you came in without all the backstory from the first two books. But yeah, definitely a great book. Someday I'll buy the second and third Terupt books and complete my collection (which is currently a collection of one).

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