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What Mr. Mattero Did

What Mr. Mattero Did

3.9 8
by Priscilla Cummings

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For days, three seventh-grade girls—Jenna, suzanne, and Claire— agonize over whether to say anything. Finally they summon the courage to speak up about their music teacher, Frederick Mattero. what happens next is chaos. parents are called. A teacher is accused and attacked. the gossip mill churns like mad. police arrive to question other students, beginning


For days, three seventh-grade girls—Jenna, suzanne, and Claire— agonize over whether to say anything. Finally they summon the courage to speak up about their music teacher, Frederick Mattero. what happens next is chaos. parents are called. A teacher is accused and attacked. the gossip mill churns like mad. police arrive to question other students, beginning with Melody, Mr. Mattero's daughter. Did Mr. Mattero do anything improper, or are the girls simply lying? told from two points of view, Claire's and Melody's, this novel takes readers into their private middleschool worlds as the girls struggle to discover the truth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Reminiscent of Avi's Nothing But the Truth and Joyce Carol Oates's Sexy, this novel frankly expresses how allegations of abuse have lasting repercussions for both victims and guilty parties. Cummings's (Red Kayak; Autumn Journey) story begins when seventh grader Claire and her two "best friends" go to the principal's office to make a report. All three claim to have been touched inappropriately by their music teacher, Mr. Mattero. Immediate action is taken. Mr. Mattero is placed on administrative leave. The girls are interrogated by the police, and classmates split loyalties. Some students feel sympathetic toward the girls, while others-mainly band and orchestra members-remain loyal to Mr. Mattero. Throughout the investigation-which has devastating effects for all characters involved, as well as their families-readers will need to read between the lines to see where the truth lies as Mr. Mattero's eighth-grade daughter, Melody, and Claire share their points of view in alternating chapters. Claire remains adamant that she has been molested; Melody is just as resolute in believing that Claire is telling a lie. Suspense builds as disturbing facts about Mr. Mattero's past and Claire's stressful home life with an autistic brother emerge; unexpected twists of fate shed light on well-kept secrets. Riveting and timely, this shocking slice-of-life drama is sure to keep pages turning. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Beginning with three seventh-grade girls gathering their courage to report inappropriate touching done to them by their music teacher, Mr. Mattero, this intricate novel proceeds to reveal a plot focusing on an often repeated item prominent in the national news, sexual abuse by a teacher. By first confirming the sequence of events leading to the touching, the girls feel it is their duty to inform the administration, and they do tell their story. Admirably the administration treats the information professionally and follows procedures by the book. What makes the situation difficult is that Mr. Mattero is well liked, highly talented, and a successful teacher who has enthusiastically encouraged his pupils to do well in competitions, and there are no prior complaints against this man. Are the girls lying? Early on, astute readers will suspect that the teens have fabricated their stories, but under police scrutiny all three do not waver from the original version of the incident. Alternating narratives by Claire, one of the three girls charging the abuse, and Melody, Mr. Mattero's daughter, expose the complicated layers of the situation. Each of the three teens is burdened with personal situations at home, and although these circumstances have later bearing, initially the sidebars disrupt the story's flow. Several lessons are learned, varying between how a simple act has repercussions to how lives can be unknowingly intertwined. Recommended with confidence, this novel provides a different viewpoint about sexual abuse and its effects on both teens and adults. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High,defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Dutton, 192p., Ages 11 to 18.
—Rollie Welch
Children's Literature
Clare's life is confusing and perhaps a bit overwhelming: She has been sent to a new middle school because of overcrowding at her home school; her mother is busy with her two younger siblings, one of whom has Down Syndrome; and her father works long hours. Starting seventh grade, she is delighted to find herself with two best friends, Jenna and Suzanne. When Jenna tells Clare and Suzanne to report their music teacher for touching them inappropriately, the girls know it is wrong, but they allow Jenna to coerce them. Did they really believe that this lie could get them moved out of Mr. Mattero's class and that there would be no other consequences? The story is told by Clare and Melody, Mr. Mattero's daughter, as they alternate in chapters, delineating the aftereffects of these lies. The reader does not know if the inappropriate touching is true or false until the end of the story, building suspense and keeping the reader on her toes. Who is the good guy in this story? Who should I identify with? Cummings accurately captures the voices of these young girls, often retelling the same incident from two different points of view. One concern is that there are so many issues here that some are dealt with in a superficial way: divorce, eating disorders, disabilities, sexual abuse, breaking the law and its consequences. Even with this concern, this book is very readable and the conclusion very believable: The long term consequences of the girls' behavior is continuing to reverberate through the Matteros' lives. 2005, Dutton Children's Books, Ages 10 to 16.
—Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-When three seventh-grade girls from Oakdale Middle School come forward with an accusation that Mr. Mattero touched them inappropriately, the passionate, veteran music teacher is summarily sent home, and a formal investigation-and lots of informal character assassination-quickly gets underway. Once the media becomes involved, the man becomes persona non grata and is presumed guilty by most. Naturally, he's devastated, and his family suffers too, as the rumors and reproaches escalate. Melody, Mattero's daughter, is particularly affected; she happens to be an eighth-grader at Oakdale. The story is told from her perspective, alternating with chapters written from the point of view of Claire, one of the accusers. Cummings has crafted an engrossing and thought-provoking tale involving sensitive, real-life issues. The first-person dialogue sounds authentic, the pacing is brisk, and the personal situations woven into the plot are apt and age-appropriate. The book provides a great deal of high-interest suspense, and, when the issue of what Mr. Mattero did is finally resolved, readers get an ending that's both satisfying and realistic.-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Dual narrators relate the story of a middle-school music teacher accused of improperly touching three of his students. Claire, one of the accusers, describes the result of their accusations: Mr. Mattero is placed on administrative leave and a police investigation is launched. Melody, the teacher's daughter, reveals the impact of the accusation on her family, especially her father, a dedicated musician and recovering alcoholic. Unfortunately, although Cummings alludes to several serious subjects, including eating disorders and the difficulty of coping with physical and mental challenges (Claire's younger brother is autistic), her characters don't come alive enough to engage the emotions. Coincidences weaken the plot, further distancing readers. The climax won't come as a shock to most readers, though the notion that middle-school students could be naive enough to be surprised by the results of their accusations may raise a few eyebrows. Claire's eventual confession feels equally unlikely, despite being inspired by her discovery that a new friend is actually being sexually abused. Too much content, not enough style. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.46(h) x 0.89(d)
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 15 Years

Meet the Author

Priscilla Cummings lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

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What Mr. Mattero Did 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though I have been out of high school for many years, Pricilla Cummings made me feel like I was walking the halls again, and brought me into the minds of high school teens with timeless issues, yet in a timely manner. Peer pressures drive Melody's classmates to accuse her dad, the music teacher, of inappropriate touching. The events that lead up to the accusations result in repercussions, are told in two points of view making the book very thought-provoking read. As an avid reader, and mom of teens I delved right into this book, which pulls you in right from the start. Compelling contemporary issues make 'What Mr. Matter Did' a page turning read that I recommend to teens, and adults alike, along with Pricilla Cummings last book 'Red Kayak'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I met Mrs. Cummings today and she seemed like the book was a bad thing for her. Otherwise, I do want to find out what Mr. Mattero did. I think it sexual abuse.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A turn paging sitting on the edge of your seat book!
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