Jason and the Losers

Overview

The difficult transition to a new home, a new school, and a new set of friends is sensitively handled in this engaging novel. While he waits for one of his newly divorced parents to send for him, ten-year-old Jason is staying with his aunt and uncle and his cousin Everett. Everett is the kind of kid, studious and indifferent to sports, that popular, athletic Jason has always thought of as a loser. Jason is eager to get into the kickball game at this new school, but first the other guys want him to prove he's not ...
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Overview

The difficult transition to a new home, a new school, and a new set of friends is sensitively handled in this engaging novel. While he waits for one of his newly divorced parents to send for him, ten-year-old Jason is staying with his aunt and uncle and his cousin Everett. Everett is the kind of kid, studious and indifferent to sports, that popular, athletic Jason has always thought of as a loser. Jason is eager to get into the kickball game at this new school, but first the other guys want him to prove he's not a loser like his cousin. By the time Jason learns that he'll be staying on with his aunt and uncle, his loyalties and priorities-and his ideas about who "the losers" really are-have changed in unexpected ways.

Following his parents' divorce a fifth grader goes to live with his aunt and uncle and attends a new school where he changes some attitudes about friendship.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sluggish development and too loudly trumpeted a message impair this middling middle-grade novel. Jason has always fit in with his classmates but, when he is sent to stay with relatives following his parents' divorce, the boys at his new school automatically group him with his nerdy ``loser'' cousin Everett. Anxious for friends, Jason wows the popular guys with his athletic prowess and, at the same time, he not only distances himself from Everett but publicly embarrasses him. Before this obvious story reaches its conclusion, of course, Jason learns the value of friendship and regrets his cruelty. Too much of the story is hinged on the shaky premise of winners and losers, and the very terms become tiresome in their overuse. Even with Willner-Pardo's (What I'll Remember When I Am a Grown-up) dogged emphasis on this theme, Jason's conflicting feelings over regarding his different sets of friends and his ambivalence about each group's qualities never believably cohere. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Surely life can't get any worse for Jason. His parents are divorcing and he has to move in with his aunt and uncle and cousin Everett. Jason loves sports, Everett doesn't. Jason fits in with the "cool" kids, Everett doesn't-they have nothing in common except that they are cousins. The cousins learn to benefit from their differences, and Jason begins to adjust to his new life. The message is good, but a bit too pat, and the issue of Jason's parents is not fully explored-perhaps a sequel is in store.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-After his parents divorce, Jason moves in temporarily with his aunt, uncle, and cousin Everett. Both boys are fifth graders but have little else in common-Jason lives for sports; Everett talks incessantly, has lots of collections, and is called Stinkball at school. Jason, desperate for buddies and acceptance, turns against Everett, too. Eventually, though, he tires of all the one-upmanship games and macho posturing involved in being part of the cool group and begins to appreciate Everett and his circle. In the end, he accepts the news that he'll be staying with his relatives longer than previously expected while his mother secures a more stable life for them both. Readers will be moved by Jason's anger and sadness over the divorce and his conflict between needing to belong and maintaining integrity. Everett is a lovable oaf and his experiences of rejection are poignant. Also, a feisty minor character provides a strong female presence in the story. The plot is immediately engaging, yet not overly laden with problems, and the ending is hopeful, yet believable. The dog-eat-dog atmosphere portrayed in the interactions between the cousins and the school bullies rings all too true, and the positive values of compassion and acceptance of individual difference are masterfully woven throughout.-Jacqueline Rose, Lake Oswego Public Library, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380728091
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 120
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.51 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Gina Willner-Pardo is the author of 15 books, including Jason and the Losers and Figuring Out Frances, which won the Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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