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on December 4, 2009
I actually bought this book as a gift for my 13-year-old daughter, Amy. But I started reading and got so hooked that I decided she'd better wait until I'd finished. (When she got her chance to read it, Amy loved it as much as I did.)

It's a terrific novel -- funny and quirky and genuinely poignant -- about the outsider in all of us. Twelve-year-old Ambrose is nearly murdered by a peanut as the story begins. By the time we're partway through, he's immersed in the world of competitive Scrabble -- which actually turns out to be enthralling.

Ambrose is a great character, plucky and resourceful, never giving in to self-pity no matter how much life dog-piles on top of him.

If you're a parent, buy it for your kid. But read it first -- seriously.
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Ambrose captured my heart! I love him so much, like a mother and as a vision of myself when I was 12/13. Ambrose is a nerd, gets picked on at school, has an overprotective single mother, wears strange clothes, speaks without thinking, has no social graces but can play a mean game of Scrabble. Ambrose probably has Asperger's but why he is this way isn't addressed; it's simply the story of a boy learning to be who he is, get along with others, and actually be happy. I fell in love with Ambrose right away as he reminded me of myself. I'm an aspie and saw myself in Ambrose in so many ways. He is a dear, tender child who often says the most awkward things as he has no filter before speaking. This isn't the story of his problem though, it is a story of a mother and son who, after thirteen years, finally learn to get on with there lives since the death of the father/husband. Ambrose uses Scrabble to get out into the world and meet people similar to himself thus giving him self-confidence and the strength to be firm with his mother as the two of them both ultimately struggle for a place to call home. Beautifully written, a page turner, and a book where I just wish I didn't have to say goodbye to the main character. Farewell, Ambrose.
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on September 25, 2014
This novel is quite hilarious! I read it on recommendation from my sister who is a grade 7 teacher, currently reading it with her class. Its a very easy, light read which was a nice change of pace compared to the last novel I read (The Book Thief). While I think the book was written for teens, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a young adult.
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on August 14, 2014
I thought this book provided wonderful models for writers looking to introduce quirky characters into their stories. I wrote about that on the blog for children's writers I contribute to.
http://maryloudriedger2.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/word-nerd-talk-about-quirky-characters/
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on May 31, 2014
An interesting take on a special subject. Really enjoyed reading this book, well written and it covered a lot of different emotions.
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on May 20, 2015
Great book - my kids loved it and are actively telling their friends to read it.
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