Book Review: Loser

July 2, 2015


Jerry Spinelli
224 pages
Hard copy edition

From the Publisher:
From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes an incredible story about how not fitting in might just lead to an incredible life.

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 wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like “Jabip.” Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn’t know he’s not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff’s differences show that any name can someday become “hero.”

With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy’s individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixth grade—making this a perfect classroom read—and watch his character develop, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs.

I really wanted to love this book.  I read Stargirl and Love, Stargirl last year and really liked Stargirl, not so much Love, Stargirl.  I came across this book at the library a couple weeks ago (I think we are at the library 3 times a week this summer, so we are going through a lot of library books). I thought I would give it a shot.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t love it.  I think one reason I didn’t absolutely love it, is the majority of the book is spent talking about Zinkoff’s life and then there is a small short part that is the climax near the end. To me, I felt like we spent more time focusing on the loser part of his life, than the hero.  It felt just felt like it took a long time to get to the climax of the book.  Although I did like the ending.  And maybe it just needed to be this way so you really felt his pain and had empathy.  I really wanted to cry and give him a big hug when I got to the part about field day.  

I think my kids could learn a lot from reading this book.  I think I will look at people differently after reading this book.  Have a little bit more compassion and be a little bit more understanding.

This is a good book worth checking out from the library.  Not my favorite from Spinelli.  I loved Stargirl more but still worth the time I spent reading it.

Final Score:

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