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Save Me a Seat

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  10,881 ratings  ·  1,464 reviews
Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL.

Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own.

Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in.

Joe and Ravi don't think they have anyt
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Scholastic Press
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Melissa Ley I love Sarah Weeks highlights the intricacies of relationships in her books. Save me a seat is a heartwarming book about family, classroom and peer dy…moreI love Sarah Weeks highlights the intricacies of relationships in her books. Save me a seat is a heartwarming book about family, classroom and peer dynamics. I enjoyed seeing the story through the eyes of both Ravi and Joe. As an educator and parents, I especially like how she highlighted the impact that educators can have on students, with Mrs. Frost and Mr Barnes. (less)
Miriam Robarts Yes, it’s such a cliffhanger. We’ll never know for sure what he eats for lunch that day...

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  10,881 ratings  ·  1,464 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it

Things are very different here in America.
Ravi moves to America after his dad gets a promotion and he thinks things are going rather well at first...but soon things change.
"Yes, ma'am," I say, standing at attention.
Everyone laughs.
Meanwhile, Joe's best friends moved away, his dad is now a truck driver and his mom lost her nursing job and is now a lunch lady. OH! And the school bully knows all of this.

Things are not going well...for either of them during the first week of classe
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My granddaughter recommended this book to me and I am very pleased that she did. This book is a great learning experience for young people, especially school age children. We can all take a life lesson away from this story book and I would recommend that all readers add it to their 'to be read list'. Easy reading, great teaching lesson, and the characters keep your interest at all times! Thank you to my granddaughter for recommending this lovely book to me.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Summary: Relatable school story with unusual points of view and clearly defined issues and characters. Give to fans of Fish In A Tree. I'm not surprised the authors collaorated on this project through TCRWP.... this book seems built for conferring points. More on that in a sec.


This book was made for teachin' -- on literary merits alone, this book is pretty ho-hum. The character shifts are brief and dramatic; the characterizations are somewhat unrealistic (for example, both main characters
As soon as I read the summary for this book, I knew I had to read it as it dealt with the immigrant experience from a child's point of view. I was not disappointed by this book.
I found myself both laughing and uncomfortable hearing Gita Varadarajan's adult characters speak; this author wonderfully captured their attitudes. The particular style of sniping by the Indian mother-in-law, the pride in culture, the lack of empathy for difference...I felt like I was listening to the various parental un
Maria Caplin
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book had so many different emotions for me. I was angry with the teacher for not taking the time to pronounce Ravi's name correctly. Furious with Dillion the bully who picked on both Ravi and Joe. Loved learning more about the perspective of Ravi's family who moved here from India. Wish I would have known there was a dictionary in the back of the book earlier. Thrilled I will be adding this book to my classroom library to celebrate diversity.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
"Winning is not always about shining the brightest. Sometimes it's about sharing the light with someone who has been waiting in the shadows all along." (p.215)
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dear Sarah Weeks,

I hope you don't find this offensive, but after I read your novel, Save Me a Seat, I immediately had to look up how old you were, because I thought for sure we must have both been in middle school in the late 1990s, especially at your mention of "Ghetto Superstar," which has been stuck in my head since last night. (Thanks for that.)

I know this book was about Joe and Ravi, but frankly, I think the strongest character was Dillon Samreen, the bully. The cool boy shaggy hair, the st
It’s the first week of 5th grade for both Joe and Ravi, and things are not going well. Joe was expecting trouble — he’s been the target of the school bully for years, and he knew this year would be worse for him since his mom just took a job as the school lunch monitor. School has never been easy for him, since he struggles with Auditory Processing Disorder, but until this year, lunchtime was his favorite part of the day. Now that is ruined too.

Ravi, on the other hand, was not expecting any diff
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A charmer. Ravi is an immigrant from India, Joe is white, but bullied, and the bully is an ABCD, American born confused desi. Fast-paced and suspenseful, with characters so deftly drawn that I fell in love with them even thought the book was short enough for me to read in one sitting.

What I especially love is that the kids had agency, and they solved their own problem. Teachers & parents were helpful and mostly understanding, but not saviors... this was about outsiders getting even and sticking
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a must for my school library. Possibly a "mirror book" for so many of our Indian students. (And a "window book" for the rest!)
Colby Sharp
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, mg-novel, 2016-nerdy
I think this would make a great read aloud in an upper elementary classroom.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a cute story!
I wish it was longer tho ...
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: junior-fiction

2.9 stars

It's the story of a young boy, Ravi, who has recently moved to the U.S. from India. He's in 5th grade. He's highly intelligent and was always at the top of his class in India. On the first day of school, his teacher has him introduce himself to the class. Ravi speaks perfect English, but he does have an Indian accent. His teacher and the other students have a difficult time understanding him. His teacher pretty much assumes that Ravi has problems understanding and learning. So on his fi
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have spent some time this summer with our library's summer reading volunteers. At every turn they impress me - one led his school's Quiz Bowl team to the state semifinals, another proudly describes himself as his math teacher's "favorite," a third knows I kid you not something like FIVE languages. In a conversation about college, several of them said that they would be in the first generation of their family to attend college.

In the U.S. at least.

Because yep, who are these high-achieving infan
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Joe and Ravi could not be more different. In fact, the only things they seem to have in common is they are in the same class and they could each use a new friend. Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and is discovering how very different school in a new country is. Joe’s two best friends have moved away and now he is left at the mercy of the class bully who also has Ravi in his sights. Joe has to attend special classes to deal with the way that he gets overloaded by sights and sou ...more
J L's Bibliomania
Save Me a Seat is a recent middle grade book co-authored by veteran Sarah Weeks and newcomer Gita Varadarajan. While not explicitly discussed in the interviews, I believe the two authors met at a Teachers College Writing Workshop directed by Lucy Calkins and that the collaborative project may have been born during the workshop.

The book features alternating chapters of the first week of 5th grade from two viewpoints, Joe (written by Ms. Weeks) and Ravi (written by Ms. Varadarajan). Joe has live
Abby Johnson
What a fantastic read! I really enjoyed this one. Short chapters give us the story of a week in the lives of two boys: Ravi has recently emigrated to New Jersey from India and is starting his first week in the fifth grade at his new school. Joe, a kid in Ravi's class, gets picked on by the class show-off and his classmates assume he's stupid because he has Auditory Processing Disorder and gets extra help in the resource room each day. As the week goes on, these boys will come to understand each ...more
Afoma Umesi
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m always excited to find books with boys as main characters. It’s even better when I enjoy said books! SAVE ME A SEAT is the story of two seemingly different boys - one Indian, one American. When Ravi’s family moves to America, he is shocked at how different things are. The things he liked about himself seem to neither impress nor be appreciated by his American classmates and teachers. Joe is a quiet, sensitive American who is regularly bullied by his classmates. The story follows both boys as ...more
Ms. B
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, school-stories, mhl, 2020
I reread this for a student book club. It was even better the second time. What a fun book to read with tweens! (view spoiler) ...more
Ms. Yingling
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wndb
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Ravi (pronounced rah-VEE, please!) has just moved to the US from India with his father's job. It's very different, especially since his grandmother and grandfather are now living in the same house with his family, instead of just down the street. Since he was popular in his old school and did well academically and in athletics, he has every confidence that things will go well at that the popular Dillon Samreen (who is American born but still Indian) will be
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm pretty stingy with my 5's, and I thought this book was exceptional. I had not thought about its connections to Wonder before I read other reviews. Although some things seem superficial at first, they don't all end up that way. (Except the PE teacher)

The book really makes me reexamine how I deal with students who are new to our country, and I worry about the way they are treated by others. A major point is the error in making assumptions; I know that I made some bad ones as I read the book. I
Ava Pratt
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: msba-2017
Ravi is a boy who came to America from India, and he knows nothing about it here but English. He discovers that our educations is a little bit different and we don't eat as. healthy. This book is from the perspective of 2 boys, a boy named Joe who's a average American. Ravi sees Joe as a "bully" or "Big Foot."

This book for me was really an eye opener to different cultures. I never really noticed that their beliefs are so much different than ours. I give this book a 3 star rating because it show
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-readers
This is a wonderful young reader’s book about bullying, friendship, empathy, and perspectives. The story is told through two characters: Ravi just left his school in India, where he was at the top of his class, and moved to the US; Joe is a big kid in Ravi’s class who is often bullied because he goes to resource class. Their misconceptions about each other, fueled by the class bully, drive the plot and suspense until they both realize that their similarities and empathy can outsmart the bully an ...more
Reading is my Escape
Two boys face down one bully...  
This is a great book. The story follows two boys during their first week of middle school (Ravi and Joe). One is a new boy from India and the other is dealing with social issues. This book depicts what feels like a real-life school experience. The boys think they have nothing in common until they are united by a common enemy - the school bully.
The chapters are written in alternating points of view between the two boys, and the book is sectioned by days of the we
Austin Poulin
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This may have been the best book that I have read so far in the year! After I had started to read the book I found it hard to put it down. The authors did an amazing job at making you feel empathy and putting you into the characters shoes. Not only that but the book was very easy to follow... with the perfect amount of dialogue, text, and conflict between characters. This was a quick read however, it was very easy to respond on and do journal work on. I recommend this book to anyone who want a g ...more
Mr. Gottshalk
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4th-grade-books
An enjoyable, if not predictable, book whose two main characters alternate perspectives in each chapter. Ideal for a read-aloud for 4th or 5th graders. When a local author has a book out that a school "should" read, I am sometimes dubious about the quality of writing and thematic elements - not the case for Save Me A Seat.
Sequel: Ravi invites Joe to India for a taste of his old school life.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Middle-Grade Readers Looking for Tales of School, Belonging, Bullying & Friendship
Told from the alternating perspectives of Joe Sylvester and Ravi Suryanarayanan, two fifth-graders at Albert Einstein Elementary School in New Jersey, this engrossing middle-grade novel addresses issues of immigration and belonging, bullying and friendship, and perception and reality, when it comes to the people around us. Newly arrived in America with his family, Ravi is horrified to find that his first day of school does not go as planned: the teacher and students have trouble understanding hi ...more
Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan is a quick and easy, yet important read.

We follow two main characters - one named Ravi (emphasis on the vi), whose family has moved to America from India, and one named Joe, who struggles with APD - Auditory Processing Disorder. Where Ravi is outgoing and boastful, Joe is shy and likes to keep to himself, even his achievements.

The two make an unlikely pair but together, they are able to discover how unlikely pairs can make the best friendships
Joanne Kelleher
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was such a sweet book! It is told from the points of view of two boys in a fifth grade class - Joe, a gentle soul who is the target of the class bully, and Ravi, a newcomer from India. Ravi, a star student and athlete in India, is shocked to quickly learn that his talents are not evident to his new teacher and classmates. When the bully, Dillon, sets his sights on Ravi, Joe quietly watches, relieved that the attention is off of him but worried for his new classmate. Ravi, meanwhile, initial ...more
C.J. Milbrandt
Ravi Suryanarayanan used to be at the top of his class in India—admired, envied, elite. But within his first few days of 5th grade in America, he is bullied, alienated, and sent to special classes until he can speak English better (even though English is his first language). Joe Sylvester is tall for his age, always hungry, and struggles in class because he has APD (Auditory Processing Disorder). He's used to people thinking he's stupid. Even Ravi is making assumptions.

A week of school unfolds
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Sarah Weeks has been writing children’s books and songs for the past twenty years. She is a graduate of Hampshire College and NYU and recently became an adjunct faculty member in the prestigious Writing Program at the New School University, in New York City.

Her first YA novel, So B. It, which appeared on the LA Times bestseller list was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and received the

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It’s October, which means it’s the perfect time to scare yourself with a truly unsettling book. But if you’re a casual reader of dread and...
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“Winning is not always about shining the brightest. Sometimes it's about sharing the light with someone who has been waiting in the shadows all along.” 7 likes
“...but now that I know it's possible for a couple of zebras to outsmart a crocodile, life is starting to look up" -Joe” 3 likes
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