by J.E. Thomas
What if Louis Sachar's Wayside School were a little less wacky – but just as funny – and centered on a young Black boy who IS going to be the great inventor of all time, and set in the top STEM middle school in the country, oh and it was written by someone who worked for years in independent schools, and it also tackles what it's like to live in a blended family and to stand up to a parent who's not being so great and to truly work together with your peers?
It might look a little like J.E. Thomas's Control Freaks :)
Benjamin Banneker STEM Academy is the top middle school in Denver. Let's just say the kids are . . . competitive. When Principal Yee announces the start of an epic Team Competition for the school, Frederick Douglass Zezzmer knows that trophy's got his name on it. That'll show his sports-obsessed Dad that he's worthy, right? Only problem is, it's a TEAM competition . . . and Doug isn't so great working in a team environment (except with his best friend Huey, of course).
Control Freaks is a clever send-up of school – and a genuine portrait of a kid and family – that kids across the country will see themselves and find joy and connection in.