The book Twerp, by Mark Goldblatt, captured my attention and let me slide effortlessly into the hilarious and twisted situations. The book is written as a journal from a twelve year old boy, Julian Twerski’s perspective. Julian starts the journal after a teacher offers him a deal; if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that resulted in him and his friends suspended, he is allowed to not a take part in a writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian, not fond of Shakespeare, agrees. Thus begins his account of his life at the end of sixth grade. He writes about nursing a pigeon, making homemade fireworks, being caught in a love triangle between his best friend and the new girl, and anxiety about whether he is still the fastest kid in school. He can’t bring himself,however, to write about the one story his teacher wants to hear.
Mark Goldblatt makes the underlying theme of self realization very clear through Julian’s transformation from being a kid who doesn’t think his suspension is serious, to a kid who feels responsibility for his actions and is able stand up for himself. Since the novel takes place in a the 1960’s in Queens, New York, makes this easier because Julian and his friends don’t have the opportunity to be distracted by Instagram or texting, are forced to entertain themselves. These attempts to be entertained lead to moments of humor, realization, and regret.
Each of the characters in this story are realistic in their flaws, thoughts, and actions. It easy to feel as if they were real people, even friends of your own. This enhances the book because it allows the reader to become emotionally invested in the characters lives and therefore the story. An example this is when Goldblatt describes Delvin walking away with his arm around Julian date, making the reader want to comfort Julian and seek revenge on Delvin. In addition, to the relatable characters there is a constant sense of intrigue and suspense that makes the book a real page turner. This is as a result of the reader not knowing what the incident was that got Julian suspended till the very end.Overall this book is one of my favorites and I would recommend it to young adults who enjoy reading funny yet insightful books and who like being emotionally invested in the characters.