Well hello there!
As you may already know, every summer I read all fifteen of the Florida Sunshine State books so I can better promote them to students at school and because I love middle grades fiction. Well, How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen is the sixth Sunshine State book I’ve finished this summer.
Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker’s Bowling Paradise. But while Lamar’s a whiz at rolling strikes, he always strikes out with girls. And his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior, is no help. Xavier earns trophy after trophy on the basketball court and soaks up Dad’s attention, leaving no room for Lamar’s problems.
Until bad boy Billy Jenks convinces Lamar that hustling at the alley will help him win his dream girl, plus earn him enough money to buy an expensive pro ball and impress celebrity bowler Bubba Sanders. But when Billy’s scheme goes awry, Lamar ends up ruining his brother’s shot at college and every relationship in his life. Can Lamar figure out how to mend his broken ties, no matter what the cost?
How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy has this rhythm to it that is just awesome. Seriously, just read this first paragraph:
“Since Saturday, I’ve fried Sergio like catfish, mashed him like potatoes, and creamed his corn in ten straight games of bowling. And it’s just the middle of the week. People call Wednesday “hump day,” but for Sergio it’s “kicked-in-the-rump day.” I’m his daddy now, the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler ever.”
I literally re-read that over and over again because I just love the way it rolls off the tongue! Allen writes this way throughout the whole book. There are so many sentences and paragraphs that you can’t help but re-read out loud because they just sound so good!
Lamar is an incredibly likable character. He’s your average kid struggling to get out from under his brother’s shadow and deal with life after his mother died. He’s awesome at bowling, but bowling isn’t basketball and in his town, basketball is king. Lamar is hilarious and the dialog between him and his best friend Sergio is laugh out loud funny! I don’t know if my students will get Lamar’s love for bowling, but Lamar is so personable they will definitely like him. You just can’t help but like him.
So, as the title suggests, Lamar makes some really bad choices and one awful one that affect everyone he knows. Lamar is like any kid (myself at that age included) where life is all about what you feel at the moment. Sometimes this running off emotion thing leads to horrible decisions with major consequences, which Allen portrays well in this book. Lamar knows it was wrong the second he follows through with his choice and is forced to deal with what happens after. Some things get wrapped up nicely, and some don’t, but Lamar knows himself better because of his mistakes.
How Lamar’s Band Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy will resonate with anyone who has ever been an emotionally driven teenager (ummm everyone at some point!) who has made some cringe-worthy decisions and had to deal with the aftermath. Middle grade readers and up will enjoy this book about “the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler ever”!
Author: Crystal Allen
Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harper Teen (February 22, 2011)
Length: 288 pages
Buy the Book: How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy