I have always enjoyed YA and Middle Grade novels, a good book is a good book regardless of its target audience. However, I keenly felt all through reading 7th Grade Revolution that I was most definitely not the target audience and that a younger person would have enjoyed the book a lot more then I did. That’s not to say that it’s a bad book, it’s not, it’s just not one that crosses the demographic from young reader to adult reader well. It’s a perfectly fine book for younger people, and I despite feeling like I was too old for the book, I still enjoyed it.
So, the seventh graders at Washington Middle School are in the middle of a new class exercise, at least that’s what I’m assuming this revolution was because no other explanation was given (for example, the seventh graders never actually revolted, they just ‘won’) and class exercise is the only thing that made sense, when the FBI shuts down their school. They’re in the basement of the school when this happens, so they miss the bulk of the evacuation, and when they realize what happened they decide to really revolt and figure out exactly what the FBI wants with their school. It’s cute. There’s a Goonies like sequence in a cavern, and a mystery hunt to figure out where a buried treasure is hidden. The characters are interesting, and I do like how Gardner shows that the shallow assumptions of the narrators were in fact shallow and that people have hidden depths.
There are two narrators in the book, one male one female, and the book is told in third person limited narration. Unfortunately, each character’s section is indicated with their name at the top. This writing technique drives me batty, if you can’t tell the reader who the point of view character is with the text then please don’t write dual point of views, but I got over it once I trained my brain to just skip that part of the book.
I do think that younger readers would eat this up. It’s got adventure, relatable characters, and kids standing up to adults. Plus, there’s some sneaky educational aspects in there too. If I taught 4th, 5th, or even 6th grade I’d feel pretty comfortable putting this in my class library and letting students find it on their own to enjoy. Not my personal cup of tea, but I think it could be a favorite for some kids.
As a disclaimer, I recieved this book free in exchange for an honest review.