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How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  445 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker's Bowling Paradise. But while Lamar's a whiz at rolling strikes, he always strikes out with girls. And his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior, is no help. Xavier earns trophy after trophy on the basketball court and soaks up Dad's attention, leaving no room for Lamar's problem ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Balzer + Bray
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Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realistic, humor, sports
There aren't very many books for middle graders or teens that feature bowling, and even fewer that feature African-American kids who like to bowl. So just on that notion alone, this book is pretty unique. But it is also a fun story about two very different brothers, about friendship, and the value of being true to yourself. Lamar is the self-titled "King of Striker's", the best bowler at the local bowling alley. Since his asthma prevents him from doing any other sports, unlike his basketball sup ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, realistic, funny, sports
Voice. Voice, voice, voice.

Lamar's voice jumps out of the page at you.

I read the first half-or-so of this book out loud, and the way Lamar talks is unforgettable. Hilarious, gregarious, and goofy.

It's surprising when the plot gets a little thicker. There's some seriously familial issues which need to get worked out, some broken and ill-found friendships, some romance. The book deals with some real stuff. It almost gets heavy in parts.

It's a book about finding your place in the world, about rel
Dixie Keyes
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crystal Allen has written a novel for middle school readers that will take them on a journey of laughter, growing up, family and neighbors, and a 13 year old's first kiss. I laughed, cried and lived with Lamar's big, bad error and imagined his mom by his side, loving him no matter what. I applauded his father throughout and loved his neighbors and best friends. Thanks, Crystal Allen, for reminding us, through Lamar, that we can survive loss and mistakes and that good people are always there for ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish there's a movie! :(
Monica Zepeda
This review was originally posted on The Librarian Writer blog.

I started reading Lamar's Bad Prank during the summer but got distracted by, you know, life. But I'm glad I picked up Lamar's story again because it's a flat-out great read.

Lamar is a 13-year-old bowling fanatic living in a working class neighborhood in Indiana. His older brother Xavier is a basketball phenom and in his basketball crazy town, Lamar doesn't get any respect for being the King of Striker's, the local bowling alley. But
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Maggie by: My son.
I love this book! And to think I would have never known it existed if it hadn't been for my little reluctant reader. He chose it from the multitude of books in his classroom. I don't know what drew my son to it other than his claim that it didn't seem lame.

In addition to being a reluctant reader my son has ADHD. For all his best intentions he sometimes cannot begin what he sets off to do and this was a book we had to read together. He loves it when I read to him and this book became an experien
Lynda Felder
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Any book that makes me laugh and cry gets all stars. I had a hard time, at first, adjusting to the strong voice in this book. But eventually I fell in love with Lamar's 13-year-old character. He has an older brother who bullies him, he has a dad who doesn't understand him, his mother is already dead, he's got wheezy lungs that won't let him play any sport other than bowling, and he pulls dozens of immature pranks.

As soon as I got over Lamar's bravado and comic-book style word choice, the story
Kris Odahowski
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crystal Allen, what a great new up and coming writing!! The story of Lamar would be a great book for teen boys. Lamar has a back story which deserves a prequel, he has pulled a lot of pranks almost to point of being a prank bully. The shows the legacy of pranking in his social life with other other students. Now that he wants to been seen as serious and more adult his prankster history marks him. Lamar is also dealing with some serious family issues, and find his way into a relationship with a k ...more
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
that was an awesome book it does not take long to get into and you will never get out of the book you will always wonder whats next this and ok for now winners or runners up I know both will win something
Love the story; I enjoyed the promotion of bowling as a sport!

However, I was distracted by the audiobook narrator. The voices were either non-existent or way over-the-top.
Josh Newhouse
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
excellent! a book about making mistakes and picking yourself up... bowling is only a set piece... it's a friendship coming of age story, not a sports book.
Ayub D.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Darya Kowalski
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile, young-adult
Definitely this book was a surprise as the title suggests something very child-like and corny yet the content which includes grief, loss, remorse, consequences, and getting beat up by an older sibling are anything but funny. However, it is a funny book as Lamar has a way of getting through the most difficult things with his wit still intact.

Growth and maturity as well as hard-earned love and respect culminate with a trophy that is worth more than anything else in the world to Lamar.

A must read.
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it's a funny book in a unique voice. definitely enjoyable! it's also a vaguely realistic view of consequences.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not very good, tbh.
Sep 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, read-in-2011
Some of the 'lingo' is rather cheesy in this book. In fact, at times it seemed outdated. On the very first page Lamar is listening to his best friend Sergio 'bump his gums'. I've never heard that expression before so I asked my dad who knows a lot of slang. He said that expression was older than he was (he grew up in the '80s), but hey, maybe it's popular in Indiana? There are a few other examples of really cheesy dialogue/comebacks but in the end, I think it all adds to Lamar's charm. I was ama ...more
"Crystal Allen’s How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy drew me in from the very first pages where Lamar and his best friend Sergio are talking on the phone; the ribbing between the two, the obvious affection and juvenile flavoring. “Scared to face you? First, if I had your face, I’d sue my parents” (2), Lamar tells his friend. Lamar is cocksure and his wit and strut is equal parts painful and hilarious. He’s 13."
"How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy deals in relationships
Yakety Yaks
[The Maddest, Baddest Synopsis Around…]
I am taking this synopsis straight from the author’s website for one simple reason: it is the waaay better than anything I could write!

Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest most spectacular bowler ever at Striker’s Bowling Paradise. But when it comes to girls, he doesn’t have game—not like his older brother Xavier the Basketball Savior. And certainly not like his best friend “Spanish fly guy” Sergio. So Lamar vows to spend the summer ch
Apr 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
13yr old Lamar Washington is one of the best bowlers in Coffin, IN. Unfortunately not many people appreciate the sport of bowling, Lamar wants to change that. He also no longer wants to be known as the prankster, so girls take him seriously. Lamar's ready for his first girlfriend.

Last year Lamar and Sergio, his best friend played tricks on Makeda, giving her the nickname fivehead. When Lamar spots Makeda at Strikers he doesn't recognize her. Now Lamar is doing everything can to prove he's a diff
Allen, Crystal. (2011). How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy. New York: HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. 288 pp. ISBN 978-0-06-199272-8 (Hard Cover); $16.99.*

Quiz time: How many middle school books are in print featuring a trash talkin’, hip hoppin’, African American bowling champ? Can anyone name even one bowling book novel for middle school students? I rest my case for purchasing this book! For any of its way too many plot threads, I highly recommend purchasing this book strictly on
Emma Lesko
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The voice and the premise of this book are truly unique. I love the idea of an asthmatic kid making bowling the next big thing, and I’ve never encountered a voice like Lamar’s in kid or adult lit. Also, I’m always a fan of kids’ books that advocate for inclusion and push against society’s jock hero-worship paradigm. This book does so with tenderness, humor, and heart.

It took me a while to get hooked on the story because I was mistaking it for something much lighter than it actually is, but I’m
Barbara Mathis
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: battle-2014-2015
I really enjoyed this book! I think it is a very well written story and hits on deeper levels than one might think. However, I can go without hearing "Holy Guacamole!" or "Holy Crackers and Cream Cheese!" ever again ;)

Lamar, the main character, lives with his father and older brother. Their family is still healing after the loss of Lamar's mother. Lamar is known for being the king of pranks and the king of Striker's, the local bowling alley. His older brother is known as "Xavier the basketball
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a great book about a boy named Lamar. I definently think it has a shot at winning the newberry award. Well Lamar loves bowling and about everyday he goes bowling and he gos with his best friend Sergio. He goes into Strikers which is the bowling place he bowls at and he saw a sign saying that Bubba Sanders Lamars favorite bowler will be coming to Strikers on the 4th of July. Well he will be giving out bowling supplies and gear. You have to write an essay and win to get some gear. Well a guy ...more
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating mix of a too little lauded sport (bowling) and a unique protagonist. Lamar's a bowling king in his small time Indiana town. The problem with that? His brother's a basketball superstar and in Indiana that's all anyone ever cares about. With his severe asthma Lamar can't possibly compete, so he turns his attention instead on getting a lady, palling around with his best friend, and maybe someday meeting his bowling idol Bubba. So when Lamar succeeds in finding a fine honey and gets to ...more
Ms. Yingling
Lamar loves to bowl, but his father only cares about his brother, who is a star basketball player. Things are tough in the household because Lamar's mother passed away when he was younger, and his father is having work cuts that limit the family's money. When the Billy Jenks, who is constantly in trouble, offers Lamar a chance to make a lot of money by playing with him in games people bet on, Lamar thinks he has something good going, until he realizes that his bowling idol, Bubba Sanders, would ...more
Lamar Washington loves bowling. He's the king of Striker's Bowling Paradise and he hangs out there everyday during summer vacation with his best friend Sergio, bowling and checking out cute girls. He reveres bowling pro Bubba Sanders and looks forward to his July 4th visit to the lanes. But Lamar gets caught up in Billy Jenks' hustling scheme, and his head is turned around by the money they make hustling on the lanes. Additionally, friction is mounting with big brother Xavier, a star high school ...more
Things aren't great at home since Lamar's mother died. His father only seems to have time for work and his older brother Xavior the basketball savior and Xavior hates Lamar's guts. Lamar loves to bowl though and spends his free time at the local lanes hanging with his best friend, Sergio. One day Lamar subs in a game with Billy Jenks who has been to juvie boot camp several times, and Billy pays him! Lamar thinks he's found the good life - bowl when Billy sets up a game and make some cash doing ...more
Nicole Eldredge
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was beautiful, and strong. This story is about learning who your friends are, and who are just using you; it is about learning to give others a chance, and give some second chances after they screw with the first. It's about believing you can be great at what you do, no matter who puts you down. And lastly, it's about believing in yourself: knowing you can do great things, and if you mess up, knowing you'll do the right things and fix it.

The first book, in all my years, to make me cry.
Little Kid Reaction: Review pending.

Big Kid Reaction: I struggled with this for a while, because even though I knew Lamar had to be the "hero," he wasn't a very pleasant or sympathetic character. About halfway through, though, he grew on me and the story became much richer. It is an enjoyable read, but not a book I'd pick for every reader. I don't mind street talk, but it was overdone.

Pros: Lots of dialogue and just a small group of characters make this a tight-knit story that will appeal to rel
Catherine Meyer
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, arc
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an arc for this delightfully hilarious and fun middle grade novel. I love the way debut author Crystal Allen developed Lamar Washington. His family is believable and you can keenly feel the way Lamar wants to do what he loves, but also struggles due to his asthma by not fitting in by being a part of 'cool' sports -- like his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior. As Lamar tries to make his own dreams come true, he winds up working like a hustler and pulls a ...more
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