Recommended for ages 9-13
The bus picks the kids up every day, and heads to school. Someone, someday soon, is going to be famous. But why?
The story takes a deeper look into the lives of nine people on that bus – eight kids, one adult (the bus driver, Ms. B), twining their narratives, as their lives intersect, and leading to a taut climax. There’s Shelley, the wannabe pop star; Miranda, so desperate to have popular kids be her friend that she’ll let them walk all over her; Spencer, the nerd who’s having a crisis of faith in himself; Igor, whose dad is a big mystery that he wants to unravel; Jay, the jock whose grandfather – his biggest fan – is slipping away; Bender, the son who can’t get out of his brother’s shadow, Matthew, who’s just… average – at first; and Alice, who has some secrets of her own. Tied into these stories is the story of the high school graduation of 1985, where a prank was carried out, with tragic circumstances.
I had a rough time with this book. I didn’t like most of the characters, who just didn’t seem to be like good people. As I thought more about them, though, I realized that it’s not that they’re good or bad, they’re kids. They’re largely elementary and middle school students, and the depictions are pretty realistic-adolescence can be a hard time, and sometimes, tweens and teens and adults just don’t speak one another’s language. The narratives are largely depressing – there is some humor in the book, but most of these kids have some pretty awful stuff happening in their lives.
The ending was satisfying, and the overall story will draw readers in with the different narratives. The book can be used in a book group discussion on different personalities working together.