MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Somebody On This Bus is Going to be Famous by J.B. Cheaney

Somebody on This Bus Is Going to Be Famous
ISBN: 9781402292972 
Publisher's Synopsis:
Spencer's the smart kid. Shelly's the diva. Miranda's the scaredy-cat. Matthew's just average (so far). In fact, there's nothing about any of the nine middle-schoolers on Mrs. B's bus route that screams "fame." But before the end of the year, somebody on this bus is going to be famous.
Every morning, their school bus waits at an empty bus stop. Nobody ever gets on. Nobody ever gets off.
And Mrs. B refuses to answer questions about it. Strangest of all, it's Bender the bully who decides to investigate the mystery. But it will take all nine students to find out the truth, for each of them has a clue to the mystery that will change their lives forever.

MrsK's Review:
With a prologue describing the storm of a decade, the "stage" is set for a wild ride on a Mrs. B's school bus. So much happens on any school bus, yet on Mrs. B's bus there are nine students that will tell their story leading up to the storm. You must appreciate Mrs. B, she is alone with these students every day, twice a day, with every bit of their energy provoking behaviors that would distract any adult. Parents see their children with prospective futures just waiting for them to "grow into." Students see only what is in front of them, or possibly behind them, and they definitely have their own dreams for their futures (which is usually no more than a week away.)

Who do you know on your school bus? Or for some of us, it might be more like who do you remember on your school bus? Do you remember looking for that special seat? Searching for your friend in order to escape the "taunting" jabs by the bullies? Did you watch the world passing by as you stared out of the windows? Was there ever a certain location that gave you the feeling that there was a story happening just beyond its walls? Every detail of this bus ride will resonate with you... the sounds, the discussions, the smells, the moments of joy or fear.

One of the best things about a new school year is discovering what everyone did over the summer. 
"Kaitlynn had a fabulous two weeks at Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks...
Bender claims he had to change his name and go into a witness protection program...
Jay took a road trip to North Carolina... followed by a week at Pop Warner football camp...
Spencer was at a physics camp in St. Louis...
Shelly is already planning next summer's Hollywood camp...
Igor went to Disney World...
Miranda wonders who will be her friend...
Matthew, well he will win this year's science fair project..."

Typical beginnings, that is until the bus turns down Farm Road 152. There sits a "little three-sided shed, with a peaked shingled roof and a bench inside..." But no one is waiting there! Is there a new kid on the route? What is up with this stop?

Each one of the kids have their own theory about the mysterious bus stop. Each one will have a moment to add some unknown information about the family who is living beyond the shed. Who will be the one to make the final discovery? Will Shelly's discovery of the pom-pom hanging outside of the shack be the clue that "gets" everyone's attention? Could it be Kaitlynn's story "The Mystery of the Empty Shelter," which by the way is a great title.  Will it be Bender's letter to who ever should be waiting at the shed or is it the stranger he meets when he is lost in the fog? Could Miranda have a clue in her mother's old journalism notes and articles (sometimes keeping your middle school-high school things can be so illuminating).  Alice's secret about her father, their reasons for moving so often, and the stolen wheel chair might just be the glue for the whole puzzle. What about the "Class of 85" reunion notice in the paper, could Matthew's mother have information about  "He Who Shall Remain Nameless?" Then there is the mysterious conversation that Jay overhears while taking refuge in the shed. Add in the letter that Igor finds in the garbage disposal. All of these pieces will fit together... will you discover the "Who" that will be famous before the end of the book?

Through the year, life just keeps moving... until that day in May. With "tornado" like symptoms, the kids are off to school... and then...
"bouncing as the bus slams on its side in the churning ground,
sliding fast and then slow until it shudders to a stop,
and everything is quiet."  

An engaging page turner... be prepared to read late into the night,
MrsK

Not only enjoyable, but so worthy of a great book study!
Bonus Chapter: read once you have turned the last page...
Meet the Author:
Some time after my daughter was born, I thought it might be fun to try writing a novel. I guess it was so much fun I went on over the years to write three more, but couldn't find a publisher for any of them (that's why they're still packed away in boxes). But I did write three creative writing workbooks, called the Wordsmith series, which are still being sold, mostly to homeschoolers. Some time after my son graduated from high school in 1996. I started writing my first book intended for young-adult readers, based on an idea I had been thinking about for at least eight years. It became The Playmaker, published in the fall of 2000. The True Prince followed in 2002.

Here comes Somebody on This Bus Is Going to Be Famous.  Catchy titles often elude me-My Friend the Enemy, for example, was the inspiration of my editor.   But in this case, I thought of the title first, and the story followed.  I was wondering what it would be like to know someone in my sixth-grade class (for instance) who became world-famous when they grew up.  Maybe I could sell my recollections to a magazine: “I remember when so-and-so used to pick his (or her) nose in class.”  Maybe I could meet the famous person I used to know at a high-school reunion. Or what if I turned out to be famous (here I am starring in my own website, after all).  Would anybody even remember me from my sixth-grade class?  Probably not.  But fun to think about, anyway . . . and from those thoughts grew a novel called Somebody on This Bus Is Going to Be Famous.

If all goes according to schedule, I’ll have another novel rolling off the presses August 2015.  And it’s called . . . well, I’m struggling with the title on that one.  Check back later.
http://www.redeemedreader.com/ 
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