A Kid’s Review: Slob by Ellen Potter

31ddxnovrxl_sl500_aa240_Slob by Ellen Potter

Product Description from Amazon.com:

Twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum is the fattest kid in school. But he’s also a genius who invents cool contraptions— like a TV that shows the past. Something happened two years ago that he needs to see. But genius or not, there is much Owen can’t outthink. Like his gym coach, who’s on a mission to humiliate him. Or the way his Oreos keep disappearing from his lunch. He’s sure that if he can only get the TV to work, things will start to make sense. But it will take a revelation for Owen, not science, to see the answer’s not in the past, but the present. That no matter how large he is on the outside, he doesn’t have to feel small on the inside.With her trademark humor, Ellen Potter has created a larger-than-life character and story whose weight is immense when measured in heart.

I received this ARC from Penguin and before I could even look it over, my 11 year old daughter snapped it up.  Maybe it was the Oreo cookie on the cover, or maybe it was the title, but she devoured the book in less than 2 days.   It’s a YA novel meant for kids 9-12 years old.  Rather than review it, my daughter wanted me to ask her questions about it, so here we go!

What is Slob about?  Who is the main character?

Slob is about a fat genius named Owen who tries to figure out a mystery about his parents.  Owen is 12 years old and goes to middle school. 

What challenges does Owen face?  

Owen is overweight, which presents a lot of problems for him, especially in gym class, where his coach is out to get him and embarrass him.  Someone suggests he get a ‘fat exemption’ from the doctor but he decides to tough it out.  Owen wants to solve the mystery about his parents so he builds Nemesis, a radio/television that can see the past and expand on what was caught on the security footage of a camera across the street from their deli.  It’s complicated.

How would you describe the book?  What was your favorite part?

I would describe it as suspenseful.  It has both serious and funny parts.  It’s mostly a mystery. The cover is really cool.  On the cookie, where it would say “Oreo”, it says “A Novel”.  The part I liked best were the parts at school, because he helps his arch-enemy recover from a seizure, and then they become friends.  

Were the characters believable?

I thought they were.  I liked Owen but the character I found most interesting was Mason Ragg.  He has one brown eye and one milky-blue eye and half his face is always sneering due to a medical condition.  It was rumored that Mason carried a switchblade in his sock, but it turned out it was just a key carrier.  There was another rumor that he was kicked out of his old school for being a handful.  It shows that people often make assumptions based on incorrect information. Mason knew about his reputation but didn’t let it bother him.

Did you like the ending?  Is there anything you’d change?

I did.  Owen learned a lot about himself by the end of the book.  He never did solve the mystery about his parents, but maybe some things are better left unsolved.

Who would you recommend this book to?  

I’d recommend this book to middle school kids, kids who’ve been bullied, kids who are friends with a bully, kids who are different, and kids who love to read.  It’s an easy read, and not too long (208 pages).  I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars.  


Slob by Ellen Potter will be released on May 14th, 2009.  


23 Responses

  1. My daughter is reading this one right now. I really liked it!

  2. Great review. This sounds like a book I would like too, even though I’m not a kid.

  3. Fun interview! I’ll pass this title on to friends.

  4. Sounds like a great YA book. Thanks for the thoughtful review!

  5. Great review, I like the interview format 🙂

    I think SLOB would be a hit at my house (for the story, and the pic of the oreo on the cover)

  6. I’ve been learning about so many great YA books lately! Great review!

  7. Thanks for the review! I’m sure my daughter would devour this one too. It’s always fun to root for the underdog.

  8. Great questions and even better ANSWERS!!

    (ps, I thought YA = young ADULT which means I’ve always thought they had subject matter most appropriate for 18+ but that HSers can handle it… Am I just WRONG? I’m ok with that, of course….)

  9. I think it’s really cool that your daughter decided to do this review. I am thinking of getting this book for my 12 year old daughter. I think it might be just the book for her. Great review!

  10. What a great review (and format too)! My little brother could have related to this as a kid as while he wasn’t the “fattest kid in school” he did get picked on about his weight alot.

  11. I like your daughter’s review. I may check this one out myself even though I’m not in middle school. I can still remember it!

  12. Hi Laura!

    I finally managed to stop by and read your review…sorry it took me so long. I like the question and answer format you did with your mom, and I like your comment about some things being better left unsolved. That’s a pretty astute observation.

    It was fun meeting you at the festival of books! Maybe I’ll see you again next year.


  13. […] A Kids Review @ Books on the Brain […]

  14. Great review! I hope your daughter becomes a regular contributor. 😉



  16. wht is the theme for this book ?

  17. Hi Ellen,
    I love your book its awsome!! I am in love with your book!! But i think you should read Nicholas Sparks Books i love them 2!!

  18. Hi Ellen,
    My friend ashley told me to read your book its awsome!!! I love it!! I am reading 2 books at one time! i am also reading the cay thanks for the book!!

  19. I love your book!!

  20. I love thia book,It reminds me of my friends

  21. hey i am reading the book now
    who is the second main character

  22. This book was very good and beleivable to anyone who has the same problem with them at school with their sisters or even their parent’s being murdered.

  23. this is like the best interesting book ever like totally my teacher introduce me to it.

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