Book: My Life as a Potato (2020)
Author: Arianne Costner
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Basic plot: California Ben and his family have moved to Idaho. In order to fit in with the other students, he gets caught throwing a hot dog across the cafeteria and ends up in the principal’s office. His punishment? He gets to wear the costume for the school mascot, which happens to be … a potato! And that’s something Ben really doesn’t want the rest of the school to know about. And with the school dance fast approaching, he decides it’s time to keep his ‘life as a potato’ a secret.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…
1) Ben is a sympathetic narrator. He’s quite likable, and I was definitely rooting for him through all his trials and tribulations as he navigates the middle school halls of Idaho. (I don’t think I would have wanted to be dressed like a potato either! Although, in another way, it does sound kind of fun.)
2) I love Ellie and Hunter, the bickering cousins. I’m glad Ben has such good friends at the school, especially since he’s so new to the town (and state). The whole how-to-ask-somebody-out-to-the-dance part of the plot was quite amusing. I thought Hunter’s preoccupation with the bacon was cute. All the planning. Not sure I would survive in middle school these days if this is what it’s like.
3) Which brings me to Jayla! She’s Ben’s crush and happens to be one of the popular girls and a lead cheerleader. I love how Ben gets to see a different side of Jayla while he’s incognito as the potato. There are quite a few ups and downs with Jayla during the book.
4) And then there’s Mitch the Snitch. Poor guy. I do like how Ben befriends him, even though he does it imperfectly. And it’s fun how Mitch comes into the climax of the story. Which I won’t spoil… You will have to read about it for yourself.
5) The best part of the story, in my opinion, were the potato mascot scenes! Oh, the fun of Ben trying to figure out how to be the best potato dancer possible. And yet, also maintain the secret of his identity. And when things go wrong, well, that’s part of the enjoyment of reading about it, rather than living it in real life!
THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME…
1) While I appreciated the creativity that went into the asking-people-out-to-the-dance, I do think it feels a little more high school to me. That is just way too much pressure for middle school kids! (Raises my adult hand. But I’m sure the kids wanting a little romance in their books will enjoy this one.)
You know with a title about potatoes, it’s got to be a fun book 🙂
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…