Raina's Reviews > The Fourth Stall

The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander
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Jul 20, 11

bookshelves: funny, j, mystery, realistic
Read from June 21 to July 14, 2011

Honestly, I was hoping for more toilet humor.

Unusual for me, it's true.

But with a title like "The Fourth Stall" and a roll of toilet paper on the cover? I thought this would be a slamdunk for middle school boys.

But no, it's a disappointingly clean read. It plods a bit, and I agree with my Goodreads colleagues who say that it majorly pales in comparison to the awesome The Big Splash.

And here are some specific complaints:

1. Mac seems to ricochet between crazy-saavy and unbelievably nieve. At one point, he's talking about his Uncle Bruce: "I heard my parents say something about him falling off a wagon. I think maybe he hit his head pretty hard when he fell off that wagon and is now brain damaged or something" (pg. 147). I think a kid this smart would get alcohol.

2. Later in the book, a character explains his fishy actions by saying that he sold his dad's bike. After the whole explanation, our narrator explains that the bike has a massive amount of sentimental value. If the narrator had explained the weight of the item as soon as it was mentioned, instead of waiting until after the whole angsty conversation had occurred, we would understand the implications of the choice earlier and feel the angst more.

I had a few more marked, but in hindsight, I'm not sure they're worth calling out on the interwebs. Suffice it to say, I found the writing annoying at times, and it's not as strong as it sells, but it's adequate for an upper elementary or very gentle middle school boy mystery.

Eh.

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