Monday, March 18, 2019

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: ETHAN MARCUS MAKES HIS MARK by Michele Weber Hurwitz

ETHAN MARCUS MAKES HIS MARK by Michele Weber Hurwitz (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, November 2018)

Michele Weber Hurwitz may be one of my favorite middle grade authors. I loved both Calli Be Gold and The Summer I Saved the World... in 65 Days and was honored to do a cover reveal of Ethan Marcus Stands Up. So, when Michele contacted me about reviewing her new book, I jumped at the chance.

And the Don and I were not disappointed! Read on:

What It's About:
Siblings Ethan and Erin Marcus may be only eleven months apart in age, but they're a million miles apart in every other way. Ethan's laid-back and doesn't plan beyond his next snack, and Erin's intense, super organized, and super serious. So when these two polar opposites both receive invitations to attend a prestigious tech/maker camp during winter break of seventh grade, complications are bound to happen. Erin's arch rival is attending too, and she's focused on beating him. But when neither of their inventions are working, Ethan and Erin realize the only way to succeed is to team up. Easier said than done.

Opening Lines:
Ethan: As worst days go, the Monday after Thanksgiving break is right up there with the last day of summer vacation.

What I Loved About It:
Michele Weber Hurwitz has an unerring ear for how middle schoolers express themselves, and she understands their world view. I loved how she told this story through multiple points of view (and if you are a writer attempting this, I would recommend this as a prime example of how to do this successfully.) Not only does Weber Hurwitz narrate through both laid-back Ethan and his sister, the intensely intense Erin, but she also has chapters in the voice of Ethan's best friend Brian, and Erin's friend, Zoe. Most importantly, we also get a POV from Marlon Romanov, whom Erin can't stand after he beats her in a science competition. In Erin's opinion, Marlon is arrogant and rude. But when we see things through Marlon's eyes, we understand him and feel for him. This could only have succeeded through this narrative strategy.

Michele Weber Hurwitz also gets full marks for her depiction of adult characters, and she does a great job of describing setting. As Ethan and Erin attend the tech/maker camp, Weber Hurwitz tantalizingly reveals that things are not what they seem.

This novel is full of Michele Weber Hurwitz's warmth, charm, and empathy. Her dialogue is spot-on, and the novel ends satisfyingly. This is a great school and sibling story, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it for readers who love true-to-life stories.

About the Author:
Michele Weber Hurwitz is also the author of two middle grade novels; The Summer I Saved the World... in 65 Days and Calli Be Gold. Both have been nominated for several state reading awards. She lives in the Chicago area with her family.

You can find more info about Michele on her WEBSITE, which I am a big fan of. Ciao!