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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Middle School (Non-Fiction)

Released June 2009

Reviewed by Jessica

My mom figured I'd have better insight into this middle school survival guide because I am currently in middle school. The illustrations are good, fitting for our age group, cartoon like without seeming overly childish. The advice-some is perfect but other tips are not realistic in school settings, or at least my school. My school is in a small town with a student body of 800 (elementary and middle schools are in one building), so maybe city schools are different, though I really don't think so.

Topics include:

  • Using a planner
  • Getting along with teachers
  • Improving grades
  • Changing your clothes for gym
  • Doing homework
  • Test preparation
  • Group assignments
  • Stopping rumors
  • Crushes
  • Bullying
  • Pimples
  • Breaking up with your BFF

In terms of planners, our school provides them and they are part of your homework. Some teachers make your parents sign them at the end of the week to prove you use them. So usually, planners are not voluntary ensuring students use them.

Bullying was one of my biggest issues. My brother went to the principal about a bully once when the bully punched a kid having an asthma attack. The principal took him aside and said that since the bully comes from a broken home, special consideration has to be given to him. This isn't the only time I've seen that happen. Talking to your teachers, in my experience, rarely works and only targets you. The best advice also comes in that book about sticking in a group.

Another one I had issues with was getting teachers to like you. I get along with most of my teachers, but my mom has a good example for this one. In middle school, her Home Ec teacher gave her horrible grades simply because she didn't like my mom's best friend. My mom did once ask her what she could do to get along better and the teacher said, "Find new friends." Not really fair. I've learned from my own experiences that some people just don't get along. If I have a teacher who is cold or rude to me, I try to transfer to a different class.

There is good advice in this book as well. The list of rewards to give yourself for getting homework done is great. Handling the change into gym clothes is good. So is the part on E-mail safety and rules to follow.

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