“The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade” by Jordan Sonnenblick is a book that will inspire readers to think about bullying and do their part to make their world a bully-free zone. Even though it is a little bit sad, the bibliophile will be touched by this moving story. This book shows how some people have to survive without a lot of money. Whoever is reading this book might realize that they take too many things for granted.
The book starts with a boy named Maverick, whose mom just broke up with her boyfriend. After this, she starts drinking a lot of alcohol. Maverick is short, weak, and he and his mom are poor. They live in a small apartment with a hamster named Freddy. When Maverick was younger, his dad died a hero trying to save people. The only thing Maverick has left from his dad is a plastic sheriff’s badge that his dad had bought him when Maverick was sad. Before starting sixth grade, Maverick decides to defend anyone who is smaller or weaker than he is and declares himself the Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade.
On the first day of school, Maverick has to go to the office of Vice Principal Overbye — or as everyone knows him, The Bee — after falling for a common trick that gets bullies do to get students in trouble. Later that day while trying to stop a smaller boy named Nate from being picked on by a bully named Bowen, Maverick accidentally slams Nate into a locker and is sent to The Bee’s office again.
After that, Maverick becomes friends with Nate, who is wealthy. Unfortunately, Nate becomes friends with Bowen, Maverick’s mortal enemy. Also, with Maverick getting in trouble a few times, he has to call his Aunt Cat, one of the only people in his life who he trusts, to come pick him up because it is too embarrassing that his mom is drunk. But after an altercation with Bowen, Maverick does not know what to do.
Although this book has some has really sad moments, the ending shows Maverick’s life improving. There is hope that things will get better thanks to family and friends.
The book is fit for mature readers from fifth grade and up. It is a good book for classroom discussion or a book club because the characters in the story deal with a lot of difficult situations and complex issues. Talking about how to resolve these is definitely something that would make kids think.
Sonnenblick pulls the readers into the story in a way that makes them forget that they are reading a book. Some people might cry while reading this story. Sometimes in the story, Maverick, who is having a hard time surviving and has few belongings, is helped by others.
Often, readers might not realize how lucky they are when they get new things. Others are not so lucky and can’t afford to buy things. It might make readers think about the inequality of people’s situations.
Review by Jamie L.
Please note: This review is based on the final, paperback book provided by the publisher, Scholastic, for review purposes.