Pack of Dorks By Beth Vrabel
Publication Date: 7th Oct 2014 by Sky Pony Press
Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the publisher via Edelweiss
Summary: Lucy knows that kissing Tom Lemmings behind the ball shed will make her a legend. But she doesn’t count on that quick clap of lips propelling her from coolest to lamest fourth grader overnight. Suddenly Lucy finds herself trapped in Dorkdom, where a diamond ring turns your finger green, where the boy you kiss hates you three days later, where your best friend laughs as you cry, where parents seem to stop liking you, and where baby sisters are born different.
Now Lucy has a choice: she can be like her former best friend Becky, who would do anything to claim her seat at the cool table in the cafeteria, or Lucy can pull up a chair among the solo eaters—also known as the dorks. Still unsure, Lucy partners with super quiet Sam Righter on a research project about wolves. Lucy connects her own school hierarchy with what she learns about animal pack life—where some wolves pin down weaker ones just because they can, and others risk everything to fight their given place in the pack. Soon Lucy finds her third option: creating a pack of her own, even if it is simply a pack of dorks.
Weaving tough issues, including bullying, loyalty, and disability, with a thread of snarky humor, family bonds, and fresh perspective, Pack of Dorks paints characters coming-of-age and coming-to-terms. Beth Vrabel’s stellar debut contemporary middle grade novel is sure to please fans of Jack Gantos, Elizabeth Atkinson, and Judy Blume.
I had high hopes for Pack of Dorks. I was drawn to the synopsis of the book because it delt with some tough issues like bullying and disability but I ended up getting really bored. This is rare for me, seeing how I usually end up loving books like these but it really wasn’t for me. I want to attribute this mostly because I’m not the target audience (this is a middle grade book) but I felt that the plot played a huge part into why I didn’t enjoy this either.
Lucy is one of the most popular girls in her grade and she thinks that kissing Tom, the most popular boy in her grade would more or less help propel her to popularity. Little did she know that this would eventually lead her to become a loser overnight. The reason? Because she’s not a great kisser. Her best friend avoids her (claiming she’s a double agent and they’re still best friends … Just not in public) and the only people who wants to be her friends are dorks.
I’m a little on the fence about liking Lucy. On one hand I love that she’s accepting and loving towards her baby sister who has Down’s syndrome. On the other hand, she’s kind of annoying. At one point, Lucy tore up her partner’s work because she felt that they should be doing it together and that he should have waited for her to work on it together. I’ve never experienced or heard of such a thing before. It seemed a little uncalled for to ruin someone’s research. It is still just research and it wasn’t like he finished it all — he waited for her, and as he did, he took notes.
I thought Pack of Dorks was going to be a group of “dorks” rebelling and going against the status quo. I hadn’t expected it to be Lucy yelling “stop it!” ten times over and her point still not getting across. It was draggy, which is ironic seeing how it’s a short book and you’d expect it to go pretty fast.
Pack of Dorks is an okay book, but not something I would recommend. You’re not missing out much.