Jennifer Wardrip's Reviews > Slob

Slob by Ellen Potter
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Aug 10, 09

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Reviewed by Natalie Tsang for TeensReadToo.com

Ellen Potter's SLOB is as delicious as its main character's beloved Oreo cookies (more on the cookies later). Things are not going well for twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum. Even if you're one point from having a genius IQ, there are still some problems that are almost impossible to solve.

Owen's 57% fatter than the national average, which is bad enough, but after he embarrasses his gym teacher, Mr. Woolsey is out for revenge. Plus, someone is stealing his Oreos, which is the only thing that makes his school lunch of tofu and tea bearable. Owen suspects it's the school sociopath who keeps a switch blade in his sock.

Some people would shrug and say that's how the cookie crumbles, but not Owen. He's not a quitter. Admittedly, he's not much of a fighter either, but he's great at inventing contraptions to solve his problems. For over a year now, he's been building a TV that can see into the past.

While Owen tries utilizing his sleuthing skills to get to the bottom of the Oreo mystery, readers also have to discover exactly why he's spent the last two years trying to look into the past. The characters are full of quirks like Nima the Buddhist who sells momos in front of the Museum of Natural History, and Jeremy, Owen's little sister, who insists on dressing and acting like a boy.

Ellen Potter manages to keep the perfect balance between dark, gritty cookie and smooth, sweet cream. Being a kid, especially being Owen Birnbaum, is no joke, at least not in the hardy-har way. Though Owen is inevitably the butt of some jokes, his own witty and wry observations make his adversaries seem like amateurs. I found myself laughing plenty at the insanity of grownups, both well-meaning and diabolical, of sixth grade feminist groups, and kid sisters.

This is a book that doesn't make being a kid seem like either a cakewalk or a prison sentence. Five stars!
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