A Children's Book Council "Hot Off the Press" Book for August 2013
“A nuanced, entertaining take on the socially powerful—one that doesn’t fit into the tidy parameters of an ‘Afterschool Special’-style lesson…Just as [Steinkellner] doesn’t sugarcoat the way his characters express themselves, the relationship between Danny and Jake doesn’t resolve itself neatly or painlessly. But becoming a teenager is just like that—sometimes sad and often messy.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“...Everything a middle school novel should be: funny, dramatic, and quite moving.”
“In a story that’s funny, crass, painful, and optimistic, Steinkellner skillfully juggles a large cast, giving even minor characters distinctive voices and making their disappointments and growth feel real.”
Jake Schwartz is not looking forward to middle school. Puberty feels light years away, he's not keen on the cool clothes or lingo, and he has the added pressure of preparing for his bar mitzvah. The only saving grace is that Danny Uribe, his lifelong best friend, will be by his side....
Or will he? Since Danny's summer growth spurt, there's been a growing distance between him and Jake. Danny is excited to explore all that junior high has to offer—especially the girls (and most notably Hannah, Jake's older sister). But gang life has its allure, and he soon finds himself in over his head.
Meanwhile, Hannah is dealing with her own problems; being Queen Bee is not easy. The other girls are out for blood, and boys are so...exhausting. Danny surprises her with his maturity, but can her reputation survive if she's linked to a sevvy? And what would Jake think about his sister hooking up with his best friend?
Dorothy Wu could not care less about junior high drama. She is content staying in her bedroom and writing epic stories of her adventures as a warrior mermaid maiden. But that changes when she discovers the school's writing club. There, she meets a young lad with heroic potential and decides that life outside of her fantasy world just might have some appeal.
In the course of one year at San Paulo Junior High, these four lives will intersect in unique and hilarious ways. Friendships will grow and change. Reputations will transform. And someone will become a man.
Teddy Steinkellner is a young adult, an author, and a young adult author. He grew up in Santa Barbara, CA, where he attended junior high, and, yes, got dumped in a trash can as a seventh grader. Teddy thought that writing a book about that unpleasant experience might help him get over it. Teddy was very naïve. He graduated from Stanford University in 2011, where he majored in English and American Studies. It was also at Stanford where Teddy began work on his first novel, Trash Can Days: A Middle School Saga. Nobody at Stanford was surprised when Teddy wrote a book about middle school, because everyone there thought he was in middle school anyway. In related news, Teddy has yet to begin puberty. In addition to being a YA author, Teddy has been a public access TV talk show host, an improv teacher at the college level, a college basketball announcer, and an evil boy genius. He lives in Los Angeles, CA with his girlfriend and a flabbergasting amount of toys.