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Rat boys: a dating experiment

by Thom Eberhardt


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Though screenwriter Eberhardt's zany plot makes no pretense at credibility, it introduces a witty, believable 15-year-old narrator whose language liberally sprinkled with the kind of teen jargon that makes English teachers cringe can be overheard at any mall. In a foreword, Marci explains that the tale she is about to relay, involving her best friend, took place a year earlier when the two were ninth graders: "This whole thing is really about the first dates me and Summer ever had in our lives, which were these two totally cool, cute beyond belief guys. I am not kidding about this they were to drool and die for." And they are, quite literally, rats, turned into handsome humans with the help of a magic ring that grants the wish of the person wearing it in this case Doris, the owner of an antique store for which Marci and Summer work part-time. Bribing the rat boys with food, the girls teach them to talk and dance in an attempt to pass them off as real guys at the town's annual spring dance and to show up their nemesis, a popular, picture-perfect classmate. As the ruse spins out of control, slapstick twists, snappy dialogue and wry asides from Marci create some laugh-out-loud moments reminiscent of a teen-targeted screenplay. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 5-8-Eberhardt has created several teen movies and it shows in his first book's clich?d characters, overblown plot, and predictable conclusion. Marci, the 14-year-old narrator, and her best friend, Summer, live in suburban Indianapolis, where they work for "Weird Doris" at her junk shop, Hidden Treasures, and care for two rats that she's adopted. One day Doris discovers a magic ring in an old box she's bought. Coincidentally, Marci has angered Summer by bragging to Jennifer Martin, their arch rival, that they have dates to the big Spring Fling dance that night when they don't. Ta da! Doris uses the ring not only to transmutate herself into a popular "daytime drama star," but also changes the rats, ? la Cinderella's godmother, into hot-looking guys for her young friends. The Spring Fling is turned into chaos, Jennifer is upstaged, and Marci learns that ordinary girls can handle the weirdness of life better than someone so pampered. This is literally labeled an epiphany. Written to imitate, rather than approximate, teenspeak, the book's frequent misuse of "like" and "this" may even irritate the preteen girls most likely to read it. Steer those looking for a fast read about popularity to Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's "Alice" books (Atheneum) or Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl (Knopf, 2000). Fans of fractured fairy tales will find richer, more satisfying material in Robin McKinley's Beauty (HarperCollins, 1978), Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997), or Patrice Kindl's Goose Chase (Houghton, 2001).-Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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