Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Finalist- PITY PARTY by Kathleen Lane
Introduction by Heavy Medal Award Committee member Michelle Lettus.
PITY PARTY by Kathleen Lane is a collection of middle school stories. For the most part, the stories are not connected other than the mention of Bridger Middle School. Think back to Stories from Wayside School, except these stories are darker. Katya hears a voice that at one time protected her, but now it seems to be controlling her. Alice is ghosted by her friends because she does not respond to a text. Lexa is unhappy with the new playground system that separates the kids into groups by the way they play. Mixed in with these stories are quizzes, advertisements, and more.
PITY PARTY is the quintessential story for middle school students. It’s a party no one wants to go to, but we have all been there. The interpretation of the theme is well done throughout the book and presented in different ways. We don’t always fit in and sometimes it feels like we are stuck in a hole that we just can’t get out of. The options we have (or believe to have) just do not work, so let’s just sit and wait until someone notices. Appropriateness of style is also strong, especially for the kids who are currently middle school. Kids are used to video clips that are short and not necessarily related, which is exactly how the book is set up.
Kids will relate to the feelings portrayed in this novel and many adults will remember what it’s like to feel like an outcast.
Heavy Medal Award Committee members and others are now invited to discuss this book further in the Comments section below. Please start with positive observations first; stick to positives until at least three comments have been posted or we reach 1:00 pm EST. Let the Mock Newbery discussion begin!
About Emily Mroczek-Bayci
Emily Mroczek (Bayci) is a freelance children’s librarian in the Chicago suburbs. She served on the 2019 Newbery committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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