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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  17,764 ratings  ·  1,848 reviews
From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes a powerful story about how not fitting in just might lead to an incredible life. This classic book is perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Carl Hiaasen.

Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wron
Mass Market Paperback, 218 pages
Published July 29th 2002 by HarperCollins (first published May 1st 2002)
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Mai If you really think about his defining traits as a student when he's little - being loud, overly enthusiastic, and slightly hyper - I think you'll be…moreIf you really think about his defining traits as a student when he's little - being loud, overly enthusiastic, and slightly hyper - I think you'll be able to see why other kids wouldn't be eager to befriend him. He was probably good for a laugh, but usually, kids aren't particularly drawn to that "weird" kid. As he grew up, they noticed more things that made him stand out, and not in a good way (his handwriting, clumsiness, etc). Maybe as a reader, we see those traits as endearing, and we know how sweet Zinkoff is, but for a kid who is trying to fit in themselves, they're not going to look past these "weird" traits to really understand what a great kid Zinkoff is.(less)

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3.73  · 
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 ·  17,764 ratings  ·  1,848 reviews

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This is just totally excellent and beautiful. Donald Zinkoff is a really special kid. He doesn't "get" other kids, really, but most of the time he has so much fun with his life that it doesn't really matter. He laughs so hard at words that he thinks are funny that he falls out of his chair and can't breathe. On the first day of every school year, he wants to know how many days of school are left until he graduates from highschool -- not because he can't wait to get out, but because he luxuriates ...more
Shay Rudolph
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Do we ever relise what really makes a person a loser or a geek. well i don't know about everyone but i know that i have judged before i even knew what that person was all about. Sometimes the biggest loser in your class can be your best friend. I mean we all try to be what other people want us to be instead of being faithfull to outselves. When it get's to that point we don't think of it as changing we think of it as a life style. that what this book is about seeing that when you change yourself ...more
Dj Sablan
Feb 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
I was in the in the 5th or 6th grade when I decided to read this book and read it in one day. I had friends that recommended me this book and told me that the story was great and I should read it too. So I did, but came up with nothing. Not that the book was entirely terrible, but I just could not see what everyone else did. Although I read it in a matter of hours, I did not enjoy one bit of the book. For the most part, I didn't really care. No I am not heartless, but this story had no aim. The ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
With a name like LOSER, I really expected to hate this book and feel sorry for the main character throughout the entire story.
The story is written with an omniscient narrator, and even though the plot could focus on the kids that teased Zinkoff, it focuses on Zinkoff's positive attitudes despite his peers, instead.
My favorite chapter was about Zinkoff's day shadowing his father in his job as a mailman. He was so happy to get to deliver the mail... it was so cute!
I'm reading this book with my a
May 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Intial reaction is the book was disappointing. I read this after reading Schooled by Korman which also was very dissappointing so that could have affected my reaction to this book.

Frist off this book is a character study and I perfer books with plot. The book also like Schooled is about a character who is above the negative opinions of his classmates. In fact like Schooled Don Zinkoff seems is clueless that he is being teased.

Loser is slightly better than Schooled in that the teasing is not as
Huda Aweys
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
zinkoff, The dreamer and simply boy I love him and,
It is realy good book for the bedtime day after day to the children :)
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
/This book is all about bullying and having self-confidence in yourself. Have you ever get bully from other bullies or have you ever felt like you ar//e the bully? Well, if you want to know more about this READ THIS BOOK!!!
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: kids, parents, educators
Shelves: juv-literature
I saw this book in the Scholastic book magazine and did not select it for reading due to the perceived angst I might feel over some mean kids and pitiful character that is bullied. I have a big aversion to the nasty use of "you're a loser" as I feel everyone has something special to contribute. Those that use "loser" to define another are the losers themselves as they are breeding ground for nastiness, exclusion, anger, hate, and hopelessness.

However, my son was assigned the book to read at scho
Manny Martinez
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever felt like you were a loser? The genre of "Loser" is realistic fiction because its made with fake characters but it could happen to somebody in real life. My opinion on the book is that its very good because I can relate to the book. Sometimes I can feel like a loser. So, I like it because I can relate to it.

The setting of my book is school & grades in school I know this because the story takes place in school when he was in different grades during his life.The major ev
Rebecca McNutt
Loser was kind of a sad book, still really good all the same. Though it had a few flaws like its lack of vocabulary, it still has a lot that makes it a good book, like its characters and message for readers about acceptance.
Ian Theissen
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Heartwarming, just heartwarming.
Lotus (っ◔◡◔)っ
This book was okay.
I didn't hate the book- but I didn't like it that much either. I definitely did not think reading it was boring- like a chore- but still, it wouldn't be something I would read in my free time. I feel like Zinkoff's life is relatable enough, but I find his life... I don't know... kind of- unrealistic. Zinkoff kind of reminds me of Nikki Maxwell from Dork Diaries in a way, except he's... a bit stranger and is bullied for often.

Overall, this book was fine. It's probably somethin
Devon Skube
I didn't really like it and i cant really explain what is was about and it was a lil weird plus it was nothing like school and i've been to like 20.
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Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
The beginning was a little boring, but it started getting more intense as the book went on.
Dawn Michelle
Books like this bring back memories of my childhood that I do not like to revisit. I spent most of this afternoon crying. We learn, very young, how to be cruel and I feel that younger kids can be the cruelest. And when you are an oddball, a book nerd, introvert, extra sensitive, [MANY TIMES] the new kid and very much the klutz [I would strive to be sick on field day - I DESPISED that day more than any other], you get called names and loser was very much one I heard on a daily basis. And the resu ...more
Tracy Challis
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I just finished reading this aloud to my 6th grade class. It is such a great book.

Donald Zinkoff is a wonderful character. He is that kid who is clumsy and slow and who other kids just feel the need to pick on. But Zinkoff has the most amazing and loving heart. He won my students over and they empathized with him. Hopefully they are kinder because of him.

I liked that the book did not tie everything up with a neat bow, that Donald did not win the game, save the day, or change the world. He is a
This was my third book by Jerry Spenelli, the first ones were Stargirl and Love Stargirl. I had immediately liked the writer in the first two books; his writing style was simple, yet astonishly magical. Jerry Spenelli writes for children and juveniles, actually--his target audience are those in middle grade--yet teenagers, young adults, and adults could totally enjoy reading his books.

So Loser is basically about Donald Zinkoff, which is an exceptional and special kid. Since he was young, Zinkoff
Pyae Phoo
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it
So.............we're doing novel study in our class. And I finished this with two periods (or three?) when I was *guilty smile* NOT supposed to. *nervously laughs--heh heh heh*

Right, well..

This was something I did not really like. It's about a weird, goofy, happy-go-lucky kid named Donald Zinkoff, whose handwriting was quote unquote "atrocious". See, he's not smart. He's not athletic. He's....ordinary. Average.

As far as I'm concerned, he didn't really have any friends. He didn't have any best fr
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though this is geared toward young adult, I enjoyed this myself. Good, thought provoking read
Eddie Taylor
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book a lot. I didn't rated it five stars because it was changing point of views in the middle of the chapter. It's really a good book
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book moved my heart. The story is so ... deep. Donald Zinkoff, this sweet as sugar little boy who is not the best at a lot of things is bullied. He is that one kid who is a straggler. He is brave and , despite what he can't do, this book makes you want to be him. You'll want to be the boy who has the best skill, love. If you read this book (which iI strongly recommend you do) I can promise he will make you laugh, cry, and think, WOW he has so much courage. This is a book I would read time a ...more
This book was really good. It tells all about how Zinkoff( Main Character) get bullied and get called a loser. Have you ever been getting called a loser, if you have or have not, you should read this book. I recommend to people who have been a bully or get called a LOSER!!
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was actually really good because I felt like I connected with the main character, Donald Zinkoff. You get to know his story from when he was a little kid to about 6th Grade I think. He does have difficulties in life, like he's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Donald Zinkoff wanted to stand out and be loved by everyone. Even if he wasn't popular and even if he had some enemies, he never noticed that. He always thought everyone liked him and he was friends with ever
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought that the book was very well written and had me hooked from the start. The way Spinelli contrasted Zinkoff with the rest of the world: his thoughts vs their thoughts or his actions vs their actions was very interesting and already made me start to think about humans and the way we judge. The book really made me think about what we consider normal and how the minute something or someone is different, we can't accept that change in our relatively normal lives. It also made me think about ...more
Logan LeDuc
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Full Review at

I read this book as required summer reading while going from 5th grade into 6th grade. That was 12 years ago, and I had absolutely no memory of what this book was about until I decided I ought to reread it.

I almost want to say this isn't a children's book. Reading it feels like an adult talking about the life of a child, which is true. But it also allows a young reader to really be able to insert themselves into the story and be the one the author is talkin
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Zinkoff is a weird kid. Lovable, but weird. Special but weird. And you just know that the when the real world catches up with him and the disillusionment sets in it will be heart wrenching and yet...

This is an amazing book. Somehow you can see that the plot is balanced on a knife-edge and despite a certain "magical realism" feel, you just dread that it will take that precipitous drop into the maudlin and yet, somehow this irrepressible kid just keeps tooling along.

A great read. If only it could
Debbie Thorne
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just read Loser to my 5th graders. It led to some awesome conversations about bullying from different perspectives, about personal attitudes, and acceptance of others. I read a chapter a day and most days the kids didn't want me to quit. Highly recommended reading as a companion to bullyproofing instruction or when acceptance of those who are a little "different" is an issue. Let the kids lead the discussion - they have amazing insight!
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I drove my son Grady to Port Neches, Texas today. It was the first time he'd ever been in my hometown. We were there for my Mom's memorial service at the First Baptist Church my family attended. Loser was one of the audiobooks we listened to on our 9 hour round trip. (The others were Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell.)
We both really enjoyed this story. Like Maniac Magee, this one is filled with moments ma
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his
“Best friends are always together, always whispering and laughing and running, always at each other's house, having dinner, sleeping over. They are practically adopted by each other's parents. You can't pry them apart.” 63 likes
“Because that's what you do, you stand up for your best friend. And you eat lunch with him and talk with him and share secrets and laugh a lot and go places and do stuff, and when you wake up in the morning, he's the first person you think of.” 56 likes
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