Confessions of a candy snatcher

Phoebe Sinclair

Book - 2023

"For the past few years, twelve-year-old Jonas and his friends have competed to see how many bags of candy they can grab from unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. No one's supposed to get hurt, just lose their treats. So Jonas is taken by surprise when one of his smaller targets fights back against his snatching attempt. He's even more surprised when he starts to receive anonymous notes from someone who knows what happened that night. Jonas already has enough on his plate, between his ...parents' ill-defined separation and his own guilt--guilt his friend Concepción challenges him to confront in a zine she's creating around the prompt "What's the worst thing you ever did?" It's a complicated question, one that touches on issues of identity, maturity, physical boundaries, and safety"--

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Children's Room New Shelf jFICTION/Sinclair Phoebe (NEW SHELF) Due Oct 27, 2023
Children's Room New Shelf jFICTION/Sinclair Phoebe (NEW SHELF) Due Oct 18, 2023
School fiction
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2023.
First edition
Item Description
"A Junior Library Guild selection"--Title page verso
Physical Description
315 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Main Author
Phoebe Sinclair (author)
Other Authors
Theodore Taylor (illustrator)
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A tween-made zine and the fallout surrounding a disrupted Halloween tradition force a Black 12-year-old to reckon with his actions in this lively work by debut author Sinclair and Taylor (Garvey's Choice). Jonas and his friends have a holiday tradition of hustling younger kids out of their candy. But after something goes wrong on Halloween--something that Jonas inexplicably barely remembers--he begins receiving cryptic anonymous notes reading "I know it was you," "watch your back," and "tell or I will." While Jonas searches for the perpetrator, his everyday life unravels around him: his parents navigate a contentious separation, and Jonas gets into fights with a classmate. The only thing keeping him afloat is his newly acquired pink typewriter, which he uses to help make a zine with Latinx-cued friend Concepción, who challenges Jonas to use the publication to admit "the worst thing you ever did." Taylor's polished grayscale art features throughout, depicting stories and confessions from Jonas and Concepción's zine. Twining the mystery behind Jonas's fateful All Hallows' Eve with grounded personal conflicts, Sinclair develops a uniquely rendered interpretation of a misunderstood tween seeking stability and a place to belong. Ages 10--14. (Aug.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up--A profoundly relatable debut, this middle grade novel is told from the perspective of Jonas, a Black seventh grader. He begins to receive anonymous letters in his locker and immediately knows that someone saw what happened on Halloween, when what started as a fairly innocent candy-grabbing spree with his friends ended with Jonas face-to-face with a victim who fought back. Things get harder when his best friend C. asks him to write about "the worst thing he ever did" for her zine, as he confronts his role in the events of that night. Questions about who Jonas is, who his friends are and what their influence on him is, physical boundaries and consent, and exploring responsibility for his actions are at the core of this book. The tone is heartbreakingly innocent, brilliantly so, translating the confusion of middle school and the worry of growing up into the acceptance of all manner of hard truths. Ultimately, Jonas's character is likable and smart, a kid trying to balance his social world with his parents' messy separation, which colors how he interacts with the world. Readers will be completely immersed in this unique, multilayered tale. VERDICT A definite purchase for a middle school library, this debut novel with a delightfully diverse cast provides a truthful account of peer pressure, divorce, and consent.--Rachel Joiner

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

An ill-fated Halloween candy-snatching incident leads a Black seventh grader to craft a story about what really happened. Jonas has been grabbing candy from trick-or-treaters with friends Mikey, Darius, and Aaron since he was in sixth grade. He doesn't see any harm in it and was having fun until the target became Gideon Rao, his classmate who arrived in fifth grade from Texas and is cued Indian American. Afterward, Jonas starts finding notes in his locker--"I KNOW IT WAS YOU" and "WATCH YOUR BACK"--and he starts listing classmates who might be responsible for writing them. He's worried about the possible consequences if his involvement is discovered even though his friends promised to keep it all a secret. Concepción, Jonas' Chilean home-schooled friend who goes by C., asks Jonas to write about the worst thing he ever did for her zine, which forces him to think more deeply about the events. His self-reflection is derailed when the notes increase in visibility, however. Soon Jonas is reluctantly involved in mediation with people he thought he knew. The book shows how Jonas' different friendships have shaped him; he is a different person with C. than he is with his boys, something that allows readers to travel down the journey of introspection alongside Jonas. The striking black-and-white illustrations in a variety of styles offer insights into the characters' emotions in compelling ways. A creative debut about harnessing the courage to view yourself and your friendships clearly. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.