By Penguin Group

Reviewed for Third Grade, 2013

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman

Three students’ stories intertwine in this engaging novel: 12-year-old Duncan Dorfman is having what’s turning out to be sad and lonely year in Pennsylvania, but his luck turns around when he reveals an unusual power. There's also April Blunt, a word enthusiast from Oregon surrounded by a family of jocks, and Nate Saviano, a skater from New York with a mission to avenge his father’s loss at the Youth Scrabble Tournament 26 years earlier. All three characters find themselves at the tournament with the chance of winning the grand prize. Through surprising plot twists, believeable back stories and interwoven narratives from the players and their parents, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman maturely addresses many problems that pre-adolescents deal with every day: bullying, self-acceptance, family relationships, young romance, and peer pressure. Duncan Dorfman is a great book for older kids and tweens, and makes an especially good present for emerging logophiles. (Puffin Books, $7.99)