Monday, April 2, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy

To find out more about Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, click here.
Title: How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a 
          Bubba-Sized Trophy
Author: Crystal Allen (link)
Genre: Contemporary Upper Middle Grade
Pub Date: February 2011

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker's Bowling Paradise. But while Lamar's a whiz at rolling strikes, he always strikes out with girls. And his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior, is no help. Xavier earns trophy after trophy on the basketball court and soaks up Dad's attention, leaving no room for Lamar's problems.

Bad boy Billy Jenks convinces Lamar that hustling at the alley will help him get cash and impress the ladies. But when Billy's scheme goes awry, Lamar ends up ruining his brother's shot at college and every relationship in his life. Can Lamar figure out how to mend his broken ties, no matter what the cost?

First Line: Since Saturday I've fried Sergio like catfish, mashed him like potatoes, and creamed his corn in ten straight games of bowling.

Setting Up the Strikes: One of the neatest parts of this story is the setting. It takes place in a small, basketball-obsessed town in Indiana, but Lamar isn't having any of that. His second home is Striker's bowling alley, a wonderland full of pizza smells and girl-watching. While everyone fawns over his older brother's basketball prowess at the youth center, he tears it up on the lanes there every day. The contrast of these two worlds enhances the conflict with his brother that comes out in the second half of the book.

Why You'll Love Lamar: He's a prankster with a heart of gold, with the trash talking skills of a tween Mohammed Ali. From the first line, Lamar's voice jumps off the page. But aside from being such a strong, humorous character, it's Lamar's capacity to own up to his mistakes and admit when he's wrong that makes him creep into your heart.

You can always find more MMGM love here: 

  • Shannon Whitney Messenger's blog
  • Jennifer Rumberger's blog
  • Joanne Fritz's blog
  • Danika Dinsmore's blog
  • Shannon O'Donnell's blog 
  • Natalie Aguirre's blog
  • Brooke Favero's blog
  • Barbara Watson's blog
  • Anita Laydon Miller's blog
  • Michael G-G's blog
  • Pam Torres's blog
  • Akoss-Nye Louwon's blog
  • Gabrielle Prendergast's blog
  • Kelly Polark's blog 
  • Isaiah J Campbell's blog
  • Kim Aippersbach's blog 
  • Laurisa White Reyes' blog


  1. I like books labeled upper-middle grade because they can be hard to find. There's a group of readers who are past much MG but not into YA, so this would suit them. And any time humor is cast in--awesome!

  2. A novel with a voice so strong it jumps off the page sounds like a winner in my book! I've shelved this in the bookstore but never read it. Love the premise.

  3. I've got to read this one. :)

  4. I always like stories where the main character has a strong personality. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. Hey, thanks for highlighting this one. I have pulled it off by TBR book shelves and will be sure to read it sooner than later.

  6. I remember reading an interview of the author's road to publication. I've always wanted to read this book. If only my tbr pile wasn't growing nonstop. ;)
    Thanks for the feature.

  7. Obviously I'm out of the loop, because this book is a new one for me. Wrote it on my library list now. . . thank you!

    By the way, Gina, I always like these features you do. I always mean to go to the other blogs and check out the other books but it's kind of hit and miss. You've given me some great titles. Thanks much!!!

  8. Upper Middle-Grade? All these genres give me a headache! Thanks for the recommendation--I must read more Middle-Grade!

    Have a great week!