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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  11,445 ratings  ·  1,165 reviews
From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes an incredible story about how not fitting in might just lead to an incredible life.

Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over...more
Mass Market Paperback, 218 pages
Published July 29th 2002 by HarperCollins (first published May 1st 2002)
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This is just totally excellent and beautiful. Donald Zinkoff is a really special kid. He doesn't "get" other kids, really, but most of the time he has so much fun with his life that it doesn't really matter. He laughs so hard at words that he thinks are funny that he falls out of his chair and can't breathe. On the first day of every school year, he wants to know how many days of school are left until he graduates from highschool -- not because he can't wait to get out, but because he luxuriates...more
Shay Rudolph
Do we ever relise what really makes a person a loser or a geek. well i don't know about everyone but i know that i have judged before i even knew what that person was all about. Sometimes the biggest loser in your class can be your best friend. I mean we all try to be what other people want us to be instead of being faithfull to outselves. When it get's to that point we don't think of it as changing we think of it as a life style. that what this book is about seeing that when you change yourself...more
Dj Sablan
I was in the in the 5th or 6th grade when I decided to read this book and read it in one day. I had friends that recommended me this book and told me that the story was great and I should read it too. So I did, but came up with nothing. Not that the book was entirely terrible, but I just could not see what everyone else did. Although I read it in a matter of hours, I did not enjoy one bit of the book. For the most part, I didn't really care. No I am not heartless, but this story had no aim. The...more
With a name like LOSER, I really expected to hate this book and feel sorry for the main character throughout the entire story.
The story is written with an omniscient narrator, and even though the plot could focus on the kids that teased Zinkoff, it focuses on Zinkoff's positive attitudes despite his peers, instead.
My favorite chapter was about Zinkoff's day shadowing his father in his job as a mailman. He was so happy to get to deliver the mail... it was so cute!
I'm reading this book with my a...more
Mar 06, 2008 Colleen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kids, parents, educators
Shelves: juv-literature
I saw this book in the Scholastic book magazine and did not select it for reading due to the perceived angst I might feel over some mean kids and pitiful character that is bullied. I have a big aversion to the nasty use of "you're a loser" as I feel everyone has something special to contribute. Those that use "loser" to define another are the losers themselves as they are breeding ground for nastiness, exclusion, anger, hate, and hopelessness.

However, my son was assigned the book to read at scho...more
Intial reaction is the book was disappointing. I read this after reading Schooled by Korman which also was very dissappointing so that could have affected my reaction to this book.

Frist off this book is a character study and I perfer books with plot. The book also like Schooled is about a character who is above the negative opinions of his classmates. In fact like Schooled Don Zinkoff seems is clueless that he is being teased.

Loser is slightly better than Schooled in that the teasing is not as...more
Heidi Solchenberger
I enjoyed “Loser” by Jerry Spinelli , because it deals with a boy that has problems and he tries to fix it but sometime he just faces his fears. One day he tries to go down in the basement to see what kind of monster is down there. He also got stitches and he had to stay home from school and he likes to laugh so much and say yahoo when he does in school. When he get his stitches out the scar is going to be there for a long time. Every time he eats he throws up and he cant help that he had stitch...more
Ofa Fotu
This book was very much like Star girl in themes. It addresses a child growing up "different" from everyone else. He is more sincere, he cares about people, he is bad at sports and school, but he has a passion for life. The novel explores child politics --> human psychology in stratifying from even a very young age. It talks about the power of a good teacher and about people living on the periferal of life (small children and old people - (an old man waiting for his brother to come back from...more
This was my third book by Jerry Spenelli, the first ones were Stargirl and Love Stargirl. I had immediately liked the writer in the first two books; his writing style was simple, yet astonishly magical. Jerry Spenelli writes for children and juveniles, actually--his target audience are those in middle grade--yet teenagers, young adults, and adults could totally enjoy reading his books.

So Loser is basically about Donald Zinkoff, which is an exceptional and special kid. Since he was young, Zinkoff...more
Bob Berkshire
Loser is an interesting book, about the life of a boy named Donald Zinkoff, an unusual kid that seems to live in his own world. The book goes from his first grade life to his sixth, all of which seem to have him as an odd, average student.

What makes the character so endearing is that how he dwells in his own oddity. He loves going to school, he wants to become a mailman after his own father, being bad at sports, and an odd happy demeanor. Despite not having any friends, maybe this is what makes...more
This is a really sweet story about a kid named Donald Zinkoff as he maneuvers his way through the years at school from kindergarten through the end of fifth grade. Zinkoff's parents raised him if not necessarily encouraging his eccentricities then at least tolerating them. This has resulted in Zinkoff being pretty much oblivious to the teasing he gets from the other kids once he goes to school. I don't want to go into any detail because you really should just experience all of Zinkoff for yourse...more
Brandi Smith
This work of contemporary realistic fiction is intended for children ages 12-18(A). It received the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award and the Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award in 2004. It is the story of David Zinkoff, considered a loser by many of his peers, but actually one of the kindest, most gracious, and optimistic kids one could ever meet.
I gave this book 3 stars. It is a classic underdog tale, heartwarming and inspiring. David gets bad grades. He is, at times, disruptiv...more
In Loser, Jerry Spinelli introduces us to Donald Zinkoff. He's that off beat kid who does weird things like laughs to long and to loud at silly things like the word "jabib." At first the other students don't seem to mind or even notice, but as they get older they realize Zinkoff is different. The wonderful thing is that Zinkoff never seems to notice, he's a "loser," a "leftover who won't go away," and you may find yourself rooting for him along the way.
Zinkoff reminded me of a particular boy in...more
I had mild hopes for this book. Think about it, how many of you felt like this one time or another? I had read Mr. Spinelli's Stargirl, this lead me to believe that his books are all about being an outsider and standing up for yourself. I dont mind these types of books. This book by far was one of the slowest paced books I have ever read, but the book made me think of three things;
1. Is this book even possible to be true?
2. How many pages are left?
3. Doesn't Donald Zinkoff remind you of Forrest...more
This is a young-adult novel, aimed primarily to middle-school students. It's a happy-sad story about a youngster who has trouble fitting in. He's got a big heart and he's so innocent and naive, but most of his classmates have nothing to do with him. He has two teachers that he adores but other than his family, he's lonesome. While most of his peers view him as a "loser," the youngster remains undaunted in his endeavor to be accepted. As a parent, I found parts of the novel to be very heart-break...more
Zinkoff is a weird kid. Lovable, but weird. Special but weird. And you just know that the when the real world catches up with him and the disillusionment sets in it will be heart wrenching and yet...

This is an amazing book. Somehow you can see that the plot is balanced on a knife-edge and despite a certain "magical realism" feel, you just dread that it will take that precipitous drop into the maudlin and yet, somehow this irrepressible kid just keeps tooling along.

A great read. If only it could...more
Julie Sondra Decker
Donald Zinkoff would maybe be Don or Donnie to his friends, if he had any, but he's known as Zinkoff, and he's the school's loser. Loser as in he's weird, messes things up and doesn't really care that he has done so, is oblivious to most things, and laughs when nothing obvious is funny. However, even though Zinkoff is shunned and mocked by others in his school (and even sometimes shamed or ignored by teachers), none of this criticism penetrates the peculiar glaze of optimism that coats his perce...more
Just the title made me leery, knowing this would be a book about bullying. Spinelli often delves into true bullies, not just the kind that apologize at the end of a 30 minute sitcom. I thought it was realistic that the closest thing to the main "villain," Hobin, never changes his ways; many bullies don't.

It was sweet, though, so see Donald's zest for life, and to see inside how he thinks, ticks, and views life.

My favorite part was a profound little gem smack in the middle of the book. Here is th...more
Jonathan Da-silva
Donald Zinkoff, a nice young boy that was always cheerful and on the bright side. But he is different from the other kids. He always raises his hand in class, but always gets the wrong answer, always races with other people, and he always places last. But he doesn't realize that when he is losing he is being made fun of. The other kids alp ways keep him out of activities and sports. He is the class loser. But will that change? Will Donald's classmates change their minds about him? Read the book...more
Courtney Schlenker
Loser is a story about growing up with a kid in your class that you never actually notice. You see him as a regular kid but you never really know him or even his name. He is very hyper child who does not like to stay still but he is not athletic. Donald Zinkoff is different than most kids and gets picked on for being awkward. A little girl goes missing and Donald goes looking for her but passing out and when he wakes up he hears that the girl was found earlier the night before. After searching f...more
Julie Nguyen
I think that this is a pretty interesting and fun book about a little boy. He has always been a loser but he always stay positive and he loves what he does. When he got in middle school, everyone looked down on him until this little accident occurs and the guys in school started to change their perspective about this boy. This book is about love, caring and vitality in life. I enjoyed reading this book and I recommend this to all the middle schoolers! :)
Wonderful story. Highly recommend it. It's one of those can't-stop-reading books. Good life lesson learned. It has several different lessons to be learned. For example: not to let yourself down because of what other people think, or to never give up on loved ones. This book teaches kids to keep and reach their goals. Zinkoff takes things head on. He is not afraid. He laughs at his own shadow. Many of us don't do that, but you will be surprised what Zinkoff does throughout this book. The true tes...more
This guy wears his giraffe hat, someone steals it. This guy tries his best win the relay, he hears the words "stinkin' loser" fall upon him. This guy trips over his own feet, he gets laughed at.

This guy tries to overcome his fear, the furnace monster. This guy isn't afraid of what others are afraid of, the dark. This guy finds out his neighbor was missing, he tries to find her.

But this guy is called, Loser.

This book is called "Loser" by Jerry Spinelli. It's about an extraordinary kid named Donald Zinkoff. I would describe Donald as a very unique kid who is in his own world. Zinkoff seems like he is misunderstood from most of the people in this story. One part of this book that interest me most was how he handled a bully at school that took his special hat. Instead of Zinkoff crying and shouting: “that’s mine hat!” or having a fit towards this other kid; Zinkoff laughed with the kid. The kid was no...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Crazy Uncle Ryan
This was an interesting book. I guess I expected that all the kids would become Zinkoff’s best friend and for them all to realize that he was actually cool in his own special way. The book ends with him still being the weird but great kid. I like that because most kids who get picked on and made fun of don’t manage to do something that makes everyone accept them.
Dec 09, 2007 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: younger kids
Shelves: interesting
It was eye-opening, and sweet. He's so kind and just out-of-it, you realize you're a loser if you care so much about what other people think and let it get in the way of you being a better person. He just keeps trying. I haven't read this book in a long time, but I loved the ending and I'd really recommend Jerry Spinelli's books.
THIS BOOK WAS.............................bad. It didn't make any sense at all. The book is about a kid named Donald Zinkoff, but for some odd reason, in the book, Jerry Spinelli decided to call the characters by their last names. So, as I read the book, Zinkoff, the most annoying name, was said over and over again. Anyway ZINKOFF, was not very smart, he got his first A in 5th grade. He doesn't really have any friends due to his hiperness and imachority. He also acts like he is still in kinergar...more
Nojood Alsudairi
أقرأها بالعربية
تبدو الترجمة جيدة جدا عدا عن اسم الكتاب فقد أعطي اسم الخاسر
بترجمة حرفي، بينما المعنى الحقيقي هو الفاشل
هل مر عليكم يوما ما كنا نسميهم بالأطفال "الأغبياء"؟ أولئك السعيدون دوما؟ أولئك الذين لا يوقفهم شيء ويعتقدون بأنه من الممكن أن يحققوا كل شيء؟ أحدهم هو بطل هذه القصة. كم أحببته
Jan 15, 2014 Natalie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his...more
More about Jerry Spinelli...
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“Best friends are always together, always whispering and laughing and running, always at each other's house, having dinner, sleeping over. They are practically adopted by each other's parents. You can't pry them apart.” 57 likes
“Because that's what you do, you stand up for your best friend. And you eat lunch with him and talk with him and share secrets and laugh a lot and go places and do stuff, and when you wake up in the morning, he's the first person you think of.” 53 likes
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