Review / New Kids and Underdogs

20230308ma_0297Book: New Kids and Underdogs (2022)
Author: Margaret Finnegan
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Publisher: Atheneum Books

Opening lines from the book …
Robyn Kellen stepped out of the car and stared at her new home. It was not much to look at. A small, boxy house covered in stucco, with gravel and succulents where a front lawn should have been. But there was a palm tree. People had promised California would have palm trees.


1) Robyn is a new kid … again. After a visit to her dad’s, she comes home to her mom’s new house. And she’s glad for the constant in her life, her dogs, Sundae and Fudge.

2) When Robyn goes to school, she meets two new friends, Lulu and Marshan. These girls are popular and right off the bat we see that they’re not the best friends for Robyn. And while we know that, I like how the author doesn’t make them “evil.” Of course, she’s got to learn that her true friends are Nestor, Alejandra, etc.

3) I like Robyn’s babysitter Nivien and the advice she gives near the end. I actually wish we got to know her a little earlier in the book. All she seems to do initially is walk with Robyn to school or wherever. I love how the relationship works by the end of the book.

4) When Robyn’s at her dad’s, she gets a phone. Let’s just say that Mom didn’t really like that idea. I love how she puts all the no-phone rules in the house. But I also like that when Robyn needs to do research, Mom agrees that it’s okay to use said phone in a no-phone area!

5) Fudge and Sundae are wonderful dogs and Robyn obviously loves them very much. “Poor Fudgie” is nearly blind and Sundae has fear issues due to his chaotic life as a puppy previous to living with Robyn. I love how all of this comes into play in the story.

6) And finally, let’s get to the agility training. Such a fun, interesting topic of dog training. And I loved Nestor’s ability training for Fudge!


This is a book for anybody who’s been a new kid! And also for dog lovers. The agility training parts of the story were very interesting.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday


13 thoughts on “Review / New Kids and Underdogs

  1. This sounds like such a wonderful story—the human relationships and dog relationships alike sound equally compelling! Thanks so much for the thoughtful review, Maria!

    Liked by 1 person

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