My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Luke Abbott loves video games. It’s basically all he does with his free time. That is until he’s forced to sign up for the Forest Shade Middle School Robotics Team. Forest Shade Middle School has never won anything – their sports teams are terrible but is their hope for the Rallying Robo-Raccoons?
The team is comprised of a cast of characters from a kid who has pockets full of sunflower seeds, a girl who does everything with her feet, and boys that are twins but aren’t (I don’t know a better way to explain it). Oh yeah, and Lunchbox Jones. The meanest bully at school.
What I loved about this book is that you think it’s going to be a story about a kid learning to love robotics, but it’s so much more than that. There is another storyline where Luke’s brother is leaving for boot camp in a few short months and Luke is having a terrible time with it. So much so that he actually refuses to even acknowledge his brother. Throughout the story, he kid of warms up to him again and once he finally shares his feelings with hi parents, his relationship with his brother gets better.
I also loved the dialogue in the book. Luke seems like a kid that couldn’t care less about other people but it turns out that he really cares a lot. He rallies his team together and gets them to the tournament even after everyone quits. He joins forces with the kid he is most afraid of and they make it happen. He even comes to the realization that he’s friends with these kids – kids he didn’t want anything to do with in the beginning.
The title is very fitting. It takes the school bully to make Luke realize that he has friends and that his brother isn’t the traitor he thinks he is. They silently bond of robotics and ultimately lead their team to a very minuscule victory (even though it was a total loss by anyone else’s standards).
Reading this book made me wish that I had been into robotics when I was in school. It wasn’t that I thought it was weird or nerdy (I’m so nerdy it’s not funny) but it was because I didn’t think I would understand how to do it. This book made me realize that I can’t do a lot of things until I try and practice. And besides, the chances of me maiming the school principal like Luke did are pretty slim, right?
I gave this book 4/5 stars.