Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Death by Toilet Paper” as Want to Read:
Death by Toilet Paper
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Death by Toilet Paper

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,386 ratings  ·  227 reviews
Fans of How to Survive Middle School will welcome the adventures of a contest-crazed seventh grader who uses his wits and way with words in hopes of winning a big cash prize to help his family avoid eviction.
Benjamin is about to lose a whole lot more than good toilet paper. But even with his flair for clever slogans, will he be able to win a cash prize large enough to kee
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Death by Toilet Paper, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Isaac It seems to be current times because they have cell phones and internet access.
Karis Madison The book says 9-12 years old. I think that is about right or maybe more like 11-14 years old. The main character is in 7th grade.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,386 ratings  ·  227 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Death by Toilet Paper

Absolutely gobsmaking great!!!
Terrific with a capitol ***** T *****!
"Please don't squeeze the Charmin" - kind of jingle-jiving GREAT!

Middle-grade novels/mysteries/adventures make for some of the best summer reading. For the most part they're easy, breezy, cleanly and efficiently written; rarely do they contain unnecessary minutia or filler fluff or extremely gory, graphic content. Plus, they're usually loads of wild and wonderful, snarky fun. Death by Toilet Paper is no exception. And really,
Jen Kleinknecht
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Once again, Donna Gephart delivers a funny, heartwarming and wholly original tale of a boy who faces some real challenges: the death of a parent, the threat of eviction, the cruelty of a bully, and his grandfather's Alzheimer's disease. In trademark Gephart style, the seriousness of these issues is balanced with humor and optimism. Ben, the likable main character, pins his hopes on winning a contest with his witty slogans for toilet paper to avoid eviction from the apartment he shares with his m ...more
Carrie Gelson
From the title and the cover, one would think this is a light hearted novel. There is humour but it is full of emotions. In fact, I woke up early one morning worried about the character and had to finish the book to make sure all was okay. What do you do when you are twelve, you have lost your Dad and money is an issue? This title explores this reality in creative, but always authentic and sensitive ways. Fantastic characters and family dynamics.
Shoa Khan
I had come across this quirky title on goodreads several times, and so, when I saw it at the library, I immediately picked it up.
The title and some reviews led me to believe that this would undoubtedly be a laugh-riot. Sadly, it fell completely short of my expectations. It's not that it's a horrible story or anything, but there was hardly a laugh-out-loud moment in the entire book.
Plus, what I had thought to be a funny title, turned out to be something I can't even bear to think about.
This pictu
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
With a title like this you might be prepared for non-stop toilet humor, but ready to have your heart break a bit for Benjamin. Everything seems to be derailing in his life, but Benjamin meets it with hope and often humor. A great, heart-felt book. I love all the toilet paper facts interspersed throughout the book.
Kent R.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sad book his dad dies and they are poor that they cant pay for medical bills then now the grand parent is going to live with them its just sad but i liked it because the main character is smart and his doing fundraising and entering contest just for his family.I recommend this to people who likes inspirational books.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a great, heartwarming story! I loved Ben's family and how they pulled together as a team to make it through this hard time. As did Toothpick and his dad. All good people! This book had me laughing, crying, anxious, and everything in between.
Deb Tyo
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It is sometimes quite hard to leave characters in their stories once I close the covers of a book. I feel invested in their lives; I have celebrated their successes and have sympathized with their struggles. This feeling of warmth for believable, real characters is exactly what I feel for Benjamin, the protagonist in Donna Gephart's newest novel, Death by Toilet Paper.

I became engaged in the life of twelve year-old Benjamin. I didn't want him to worry about the rent his mom couldn't pay. I wante
Amanda Harris
May 05, 2015 rated it liked it
If you think you have problems...then you haven't lived Ben Epstein's life! Ben's dad died the year before and now his mom is working at a local restaurant where she has to wear a paper piggy hat and gets little to no tips, some of which end up dropped in sticky syrup. Their rent is due (plus back rent) and they either need to cough up the cash now, or they'll get evicted from their apartment. Ben's grandpa Jake comes to live with them, but seems to be suffering memory loss and sometimes he's no ...more
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down. It is heart-warming, eye-opening, and hilarious. I learned a lot from reading this book. Also, it portrays the life of a middle-schooler really realistically. This book has many twists and turns. I definitely could not predict what was going to happen—at any point in the book. This book does not sugar-coat things, but, at the end of the day, it restores my hope in humanity.

Death by Toilet Paper is unique in so many ways. There was so much more to this book than I e
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic! I read it to my 4th graders because it had been on lots of review lists. The book literally had me laughing out loud, tearing up and everything in between. Really heartwarming story about a boy's intense desire to help his family. My class actually clapped when it got over because they loved too!
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids, 2014, mglit
Hilarious middle-reader novel about a boy who enters contests in hopes of winning to help his mom financially. It does have a dead dad and a grandpa going senile plus some serious bullying but I still found it more on the refreshing side. I enjoyed reading toiler paper facts that start off each chapter.
A funny and heartwarming family story. Readers will enjoy Benjamin's honest reactions to the challenges in his life. Includes random facts about toilets and toilet paper at the beginning of every chapter, as well as a glossary of Yiddish words.
Michele Knott
Fantastic middle grade read. Your heart will break for Ben and you'll want to open your arms to Ben's family and help them out.
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a great story with well developed characters. And told in a wonderful voice. Absolutely loved this book.
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Book Death by Toilet Paper was absolutely an extraordinary book one of the quotes from the book said "life is like a roll of toilet paper." "The closer gets to the end the faster it seems to go." This is a very emotional book it will make you laugh, cry, get angry, scared, and more. The book is about this boy, his mom, fish, dad, best friend, friends dad, a bully, and the boys grandpa. Him and his mom are going through lots of hard, difficult changes. I think people who like How to Survive ...more
Ms. Yingling
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Benjamin's family is really struggling. His father died of cancer, and his mother is working as a waitress while trying to finish up her school work and tests to become an accountant. Their rent is due, and the landlord has been sympathetic, but if they don't pay soon, they will be evicted. To top it all off, Benjamin's grandfather, Zayde Jake, has moved in with the family and his senile dementia is becoming worse. His friend Toothpick, who likes to mess around with film makeup and produce his o ...more
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you or your students liked How to Survive Middle School or Olivia Bean Trivia Queen, then you will be similarly pleased with Death by Toilet Paper. Once again, Gephart manages to interweave the heart-breaking home life of a young adolescent with elements of humor that keep the story accessible for kids ages 10-13. It has the familiar elements of the other two stories: a middle school aged child who is dealing with the loss of a parent (this time an actual death rather than a divorce) and crea ...more
Sally Kruger
Yep, I admit it; the title and cover sold me on this one. Didn't even read the description, just bought it.

Ben is in seventh grade. He spends his free time entering sweepstakes. Hoping to finally win an awesome grand prize, Ben enters mail-in contests and logs into online sweepstakes. He has gotten lucky a few times, but so far that has only earned him a life-time supply of instant oatmeal (plain) and a barbecue grill. Those along with a few other minor prizes continue to fuel his hopes for a BI
Sep 12, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a solid tween read for kids who like their books with a bit of humor but also enjoy a novel that centers around real-life issues. Our protagonist is Benjamin, a 7th grader whose father has died of cancer in the past year. His death left Ben and his mom with a mass of debt and a grand plan to make things right. The novel opens with the scary realization that he and his mom are about to be evicted from their apartment; they simply can't make the rent and money is extremely tight. Ben has a ...more
This middle grade realistic fiction novel is very popular in my classroom library. On one of the rare occasions that it wasn't riding around in one of my students' book box, I decided to borrow it myself for a few days. I can see why so many kids love this book.

The characters are very real. Benjamin is a seventh grader who has some heavy problems weighing on him. His father passed away recently from lung cancer, his overworked mother is behind on the rent for their apartment, and his elderly gr
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Death By Toilet Paper" is one of the best-written children's books I've read in over thirty years of parenting and over two decades of teaching. Ben is a young boy whose father has died, and his mom is struggling to pay their past-due rent as the threat of eviction looms over them. The characters in the story are totally believable, well-developed, and easily identified with. I've just finished reading this one to my grade four class, and it caused toilet paper to take over: science experiments ...more
Lisa Bernstein
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
My 6th grade son and I really enjoyed reading this book together, and I'd recommend it as a great book for middle-school-aged boys. In the story, Ben is coping with a lot. His father died last year. He and his mom are having financial troubles and may get evicted from their apartment. And now his grandfather, who suffers from dementia, has moved in with them! Despite all this, Ben's attempts at raising money through sweepstakes and selling candy appear valiant, and the story is told sensitively ...more
This was a nice enough little story about a boy who loves to apply for sweepstakes. His father is dead and his mother is working hard to keep them from being evicted from their apartment.

I gave Death by Toilet Paper only three stars because I couldn't picture who I'd give this book to. While it hit all the middle school appropriate points (a little school bullying, a weird but true-blue best friend, a seemingly insurmountable problem that magically resolves at the end) there was nothing particu
Benjamin has lost his dad to cancer and now feels like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, as he struggles to help his mother and find a way to pay their back rent and keep their apartment. This funny, tender work of realistic fiction is a great introduction to poverty for middle-school age readers, who may have friends in Ben's straitened circumstances and not even be aware of it. Also a thoughtful look at the hidden as well as the overt consequences of bullying. My 11-year-old and ...more
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the absolutely cutest juvenile book that I have read in a long time. I laughed at the antics of the characters and cried with them as they were in the process of losing their apartment. I picked up this book because of the title and am glad I did. I enjoyed the facts about toilets and toilet paper. One never knows when that sort of info will come in handy!
Mar 05, 2015 added it
Benjamin wanted to keep the best toilet paper but Benjamin has to find a summer work that will pay him more then enough to keep the toilet paper. So, Benjamin gets a job and works as hard as he could, but then suddenly he damaged the persons lawn mover and so he had to work with scissors but he only got half the price. The book 'Death by Toilet Paper' is about fun, angry, and sadness.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book ends on a happier note, but in the meantime, it's very sad. As an adult, it was worrisome to feel the burdens of this young boy. Despite what the cover suggests, I wouldn't categorize this book as humor. It's a good read, but left me melancholy. My 10-year-old asked if there was a second book; he wanted to ensure Benjamin and his family where okay. *sigh*
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
The title sucked me into this book. I was expecting a light hearted fun book, but what I got was an emotional roller coaster of a book. This book had some light hearted moments that made me laugh out loud. I really enjoy this book and can't wait to share it with others!
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a charming book. I was very worried about Ben and his mother. I loved Toothpick and his father and Mrs. Schneckle, and I hated Angus Andrews and Mr. Katz. And I'll never look at toilet paper the same way again.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Absolutely Almost
  • Zombie Baseball Beatdown
  • A Handful of Stars
  • Chirp
  • The Honest Truth
  • All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
  • Criminal Destiny (Masterminds, #2)
  • The Terrible Two (The Terrible Two, #1)
  • Masterminds (Masterminds, #1)
  • Capture the Flag (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #1)
  • The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James
  • Centaur Rising
  • Pay Attention, Carter Jones
  • Dr. Floss Is the Boss! (My Weirder-est School #3)
  • Ms. Hall Is a Goofball! (My Weirdest School, #12)
  • Dr. Snow Has Got to Go! (My Weirder-est School #1)
  • Mr. Will Needs to Chill! (My Weirdest School, #11)
  • Miss Porter Is Out of Order! (My Weirder-Est School #2)
See similar books…

Related Articles

Want to encourage young readers to keep up their reading habits? Look no further than this year's buzziest YA and middle-grade graphic novels....
55 likes · 15 comments
“dummy.” 1 likes
“Besides, motels cost money, and last time I checked, you’re not Donald Trump.” “Of course I’m not Donald Trump,” Zeyde says. “He has hair.” 1 likes
More quotes…