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StorySnoops Children's Book Reviews | The Fourth Stall Part II | Chris Rylander
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The Fourth Stall Part II
by Chris Rylander
PUBLISHER: Walden Pond Press
NO. PAGES: 288
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
SERIES: The Fourth Stall
PREQUEL: The Fourth Stall
SEQUEL: The Fourth Stall Part III
ISBN: 0061996300
READ & REVIEWED BY: Eden - StorySnoop

The Story
The Fourth Stall Part II—Book Review

Business is booming for sixth-graders Mac and Vince, who run a "help" service out of a bathroom stall in a little-used wing of their school. They've just taken down legendary bully Staples, and are now enjoying a lucrative business while they get ready for baseball tryouts. Just when they are feeling unbeatable, trouble walks in in the form of kind-of-scary, kind-of-pretty eighth-grader Trixie Von Parkway, who says the new science teacher has it in for her. Seems like a simple case for Mac, but as he digs deeper he starts to find evidence that something much bigger is brewing, and the very future of the school could rest on his shoulders alone.
The Scoop
The Fourth Stall Part II—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

This middle school "caper" book is fun and just a bit over-the-top, as Vince and Mac experience their first barely-recognizable crush on the same girl, channel the dubious talents of an organized bully squad, work with a sixth grade surveillance expert, and take on not only the cafeteria staff, but also the highest school administrators. They have a lucrative business, which they run to earn money for tickets to the first Chicago Cubs playoff game in over seventy years, whenever that day may come. They normally help kids out with things like hall passes, bully trouble, homework answers, an occasional McDonald's run, etc. But their hands are full in this story when they begin to investigate a teacher and a mean new administrator who appear bent on closing down the school. The school will be shut down if the students cannot perform well on a new standardized test called the SMART. Mac and Vince hatch a plan to alter the answers of the SMART test on behalf of the entire student body. Young readers might enjoy a discussion about the ethics of this kind of massive cheating when the justification for the scam is saving the school--with the added benefit of higher individual scores. When the end appears near for Mac and his business, he shows character and maturity in recognizing that the needs of the school and the student body as a whole are more important than protecting his financial bottom line. He makes a great personal sacrifice, and is pleased when Vince stands with him in a show of solidarity. The plot of this second book may be easier for younger readers to follow than the first, as the tongue-in-cheek "organized middle school crime" theme is downplayed, and the main focus is the more universally-relatable idea of saving the school. There is occasional mild language (cr-p, scr-wed).
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