Abby Johnson's Reviews > The Fourth Stall

The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander
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May 24, 2012

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Read from May 24 to June 02, 2012

Christian "Mac" (short for MacGuyver) Barrett is the kid who can get you what you need. From his office in the East Wing boys' bathroom, he deals in favors and cold, hard cash, helping kids with their problems, even if it means violating the school's code of conduct. But everything changes when Fred shows up: a scared third grader who's gotten in way over his head with a high school bookie named Staples. As Mac tries to help Fred, he learns just how deeply Staples has infiltrated his school. He's gotta shut Staples down, but when you factor in snitches, hit men, and ultimate betrayal, things get complicated really fast.

This is a great concept for a middle grade novel and it's definitely got its moments. I loved the relationship between Mac and his best friend Vince. There are definitely some twists and turns that I didn't see coming. The writing is a little uneven and sometimes repetitive and I think the book would have been stronger if it had been more tightly woven. That said, the unique plot will be an appeal factor and I think the middle grade guys will dig it.

I'd recommend it to fans of Gordon Korman's Swindle or Michael Winerip's Adam Canfield of the Slash.
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