Sunday, August 13, 2017

Blog Tour: The Real Us by Tommy Greenwald

Eight-grader Calista Getz has always been the prettiest and most popular girl in school. And she’s also a pretty nice person, even if she has somehow ended up being friends with stuck up, superficial Ellie and Ella. And Calista still likes to play soccer. Laura Corbett used to be Calista’s best friend, but that seems to have changed now, though they still play on the soccer team together. But Laura has a weight problem that makes her the brunt of mean jokes, some made Ellie and Ella, straining what it left of her friendship with Calista. Damian White is an artist and a longer who has been watching Calista, fascinated by her ever since she gave him a tour of the school when he was a new student the year before. Damian also has hyperhidrosis, which causes him to sweat excessively. Small wonder his is also obsessed with drawing pictures of deserts.

The new school year has begun and Monday is pretty uneventful. Just lots of talk about the First Week Dance. Naturally Ellie and Ella think Calista should go with Peter Toole, best looking boy in the school and basically nice guy.. Later, at soccer practice, Laura accidentally hurts Calista during a scrimmage.Uh-oh…

Tuesday, Calista wakes up to her first pimple, right smack in the middle of her nose and in her panic, she pops it. So she puts her mother’s concealer on it and and covers it with a bandage. At school, she begins to break out in hives from the concealer, and runs into Damian in the nurse’s office, where he goes to change his shirt a few times a day. Later at lunch, Calista finds out that Peter doesn’t want to go to the dance with her now that she isn’t perfect. And to make matters worse, Damian accidentally smacks her in the nose with his elbow, causing bleeding. swelling and black and blue eyes. And superficial friends Ella and Ellie turn on her.

Let’s face it, middle school can be drama personified until everyone works out who they really are and how to really be that person. What makes this book really interesting is seeing how how everything works out Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I love how Tommy Greenwald created main characters who defy stereotypes resulting in a much more interesting story. Normally, Calista who have been more like Ellie and Ella, but despite being so pretty, she is a smart, kind, and not afraid of getting dirty and sweating on the soccer field. 

The Real Us covers the first week of school, up to the First Week Dance. Each day is narrated in the first person, alternatively by Calista, Laura and Damian, so the reader experiences how each one feels about the same set of events. Normally, I don’t like multiple narrators, but it really worked here, probably because there wasn’t a lot of descriptive passages, yet you really get a complete picture of what is happening.  

A word about the adults in The Real Us - they really don’t give in to any of the middle school shenanigans that are going on. Calista’s mother tells her the pimple isn’t the end of the world, and makes her return to school on Wednesday despite the way her face now looks; the nurse sends her back to class because she is, after all, still a student. The art teacher doesn’t care what Calista looks like when she is asked to pose with Peter Toole for a poster for the dance, a poster drawn by Damian; and the soccer coach treats her like the other players, seeing her as a good player, not a pretty girl. I loved these adults. 

 The Real Us is a book every middle grade student should read. 

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was an EARC received from the publisher, Roaring Brook Press/mackids

Be sure to visit the other stops on The Real Us Blog Tour:
August 7      Ms. Yingling Reads                    review
August 8      Maria's Melange                         author interview
August 9      Log Cabin Library                      review
August 10    Diary of a Happy Librarian        review
August 11    Always in the Middle                 author interview
August 14    Randomly Reading                     review
August 15    One Great Book                          review
August 16    Unleashing Readers                    giveaway
August 17    Mr. D. Reads                               interview
August 18    Tommy Greenwald                     giveaway

Meet the author:
Tommy Greenwald is the author of the Charlie Joe Jackson series as well as its spin-offs and the Crimebiters! series and is now looking forward to his next challenge.

Find Tommy on Twitter @tommygreenwald

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is a weekly event hosted by Shannon Messenger at Book Ramblings, and Plenty of Shenanigans


  1. I'm looking forward to reading this one. I'm glad the adults act like adults. Too often they are portrayed as if they live in another world. Thanks for the review.

  2. I think the kids at school will really like this book. Thanks.

  3. I love those adults too, what a pity there isn’t more of them about. Mind you, it’s hard being a teenage girl, especially a pretty one because their friends do want them to be perfect all the time. Luckily, I didn’t have that problem. :)

  4. Sounds like an interesting book. Glad to hear the adults are so great in this one. Middle school certainly can be filled with lots of drama! Thanks for the review. :)


Imagination Designs