by Jerry Spinelli
224 pages, Contemporary
Reviewed by bookRacoon

Great read with a misunderstood outcast as the admirable character; also has Christian morals.


Donald Zinkoff, the guy who likes school and doesn't let bullies' teasing get to him, has been the same guy all his life. When he hits middle school, though, everyone turns on him as the "loser." It doesn't take long for Donald to realize that his heart, and the love of his family and true friends, are what count.


Donald is someone who tries very hard in school, sports, and all his activities (he is not very good in them, but he earnestly works hard).

Donald is the guy people tease for seemingly no reason, and at one point he feels extremely lonely and upset to have no real friend.

Donald's parents are obviously there for him and love him a lot.

When Donald finds out that someone, he sets out for hours and hours through the wind and snow to try to find her, risking his own health and safety and comfort.

Spiritual Content

The Zinkoffs seem to be a Christian family, and Donald's parents take him and his sister to church every Sunday, as well teach him to pray before going to sleep every night.


In a couple of his clumsy moments, Donald runs into or trips over things.

Drug and Alcohol Content


Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

Bully language, no profanities.


I like this book - it was really interesting to find a read where the hero is a social misfit of his class: one of those loving and hard-working people that the world misunderstands. Donald's got great character, and the ending of the book is also nice because it hints at Donald starting to find the good friends he has been missing for years.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

Review Rating:

Did we miss something? Let us know!

bookRacoon This review is brought to you by bookRacoon.
Read more reviews by bookRacoon