Review: The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander

You’ve already seen the stats and the synopsis for this haven’t you? Okay here it is again.

# Reading level: Ages 9-12
# Hardcover: 320 pages
# Publisher: Walden Pond Press (February 8, 2011)
# Language: English

Synopsis: Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It’s what he does—he and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boys’ bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming.

Or at least it was, until one particular Monday. It starts with a third grader in need of protection. And before this ordeal is over, it’s going to involve a legendary high school crime boss named Staples, an intramural gambling ring, a graffiti ninja, the nine most dangerous bullies in school, and the first Chicago Cubs World Series game in almost seventy years. And that’s just the beginning. Mac and Vince soon realize that the trouble with solving everyone else’s problems is that there’s no one left to solve yours.

Review: This one is going to get under your skin a little bit. I have to say I read it slowly, because it’s more for younger kids, but if you are a young kid, or the parent of a young kid, this is a great book to have. I say this because it’s less about Mac and the business he’s running and more about what parents could or should be worried about when it comes to bullying. Mac is right in the middle of the bullies world, but he’s not a bully. He’s just a kid who helps kids and sometimes uses bullies to get it done.

And then he’s bullied for messing with the biggest bully of them all, Staples.

The story about Staples is well thought out, the action was quite well done, and the writing just flows. It’s got that style to it that only someone with a great sense of humor could have.

I don’t want to give away more of a plot than necessary but let’s just say that Mac is smarter than your average 11 year old, and he’s got some pretty big dreams, and a pretty big heart too. He’s not one of these big kids, but more of a smaller kid, one that could really get beaten up if he wasn’t so helpful to everyone all the time.

So really, when he starts getting involved in Staples business, it’s like, you know something is coming for him and that he’s going to have to deal with some pretty big issues. Like cars. I think cars are a pretty big issue when you’re a little kid on a bike.

In the end though, Mac does prove that friendship is above bullying, and that bullies never really win, and that every bully has a reason for being a bully. Well except maybe for Kitten . . . he probably doesn’t have a reason, but I’m sure he does have a motive.

Anyways, I like the style, and LOVED the ending. I’m waiting on the second book in this series to come out because if there’s anything worse than Staples, it’s what walks into his office on the last page of the book . . .

I give this one a 5 out of 5, it’ll keep you entertained and informed about the things kids do when they’re on the inside, or in so much trouble they can’t even ask for help or they’ll make it worse.

Go buy the book here!


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