Andrew's Reviews > Scrawl

Scrawl by Mark Shulman
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May 06, 12

bookshelves: missouri-truman-award, realistic-fiction
Read from April 21 to 29, 2012

Scrawl is a 2012-13 Missouri Truman Nominee. Overall Scrawl is worth reading, but it never struck me as award worthy.

Scrawl's main character is Tod Munn. He has gotten himself into some trouble and instead of being expelled from school he has been forced to serve a daily detention with Mrs. Woodrow, his guidance counselor. While he is in detention, Tod must write a daily journal that Mrs. Woodrow reads.

This book is supposedly Tod's journal that he writes to Mrs. Woodrow. It is written in second person point of view (interestingly, there are two on the 2012-13 Truman list that are written in 2nd person, the other is After Ever After). Instead of chapters the book is broken up into days of Tod's journal entries.

One of the problems with the book is that I find it hard to believe that this is actually the writing that a student like Tod Munn would produce. I think this is the main thing that prevents me from seeing this book as anything more than 3 stars. What is supposedly Tod's writing is quite impressive. Call me cynical, or just call me a realist, but I'm sorry the average student like Tod Munn is just not going to create prose like this. I think it would have been helpful if Mark Shulman had actually put some errors in the text. It would have come off far more convincing. Instead it reads like an adult writer trying to create a fictional book of a young adult who is journaling with his guidance counselor. Not sure if that made sense...

There is some inconsistencies with regards to Tod as a convincing character. First, the book's cover states that Tod is a bully. Maybe a little, but really he is an intelligent kid that comes from a poor, broken home. Tod runs with some rough kids, gets in to a lot of trouble, and somehow manages to maintain good grades. For those of us that live in the real world, this child rarely exists. Now, I really do believe that there are a lot of really intelligent kids out there that behave like Tod, but usually they are not keeping their grades up even though they could excel in school.

I am not sure how much of this a young adult reader will notice. They probably won't see it as much as I do. Because of that, I would imagine most of the teens that try this book will enjoy it. From a young adult's perspective there is a lot to like here. Tod is definitely a likable character even though he is a trouble maker. Tod is a bit rebellious, so I think that will attract reluctant readers, also.

Overall Scrawl is worth your time, but don't expect an exceptional read.

Lexile: 650
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Reading Progress

04/21/2012 page 46
20.0%
04/28/2012 page 180
78.0% "I'm still waiting to be impressed by this book, running out of pages, though."
04/29/2012 page 230
100.0% "Solid 3 star book, review coming later in the week."
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