I have one word for this book… FUN! At Seamus’ age who wouldn’t want to attend a school that rewarded you for playing pranks and practical jokes on your classmates and teachers? Seamus Hinkle is generally a good kid who, due to a very unfortunate apple incident, is sent to Kilter Academy. However, this reform school is not what he expects. At this school students are being trained to be future troublemakers and rewarded for mischief with demerits and being a do-gooder will earn you gold stars and all those demerits can be traded in for some really cool trouble making stuff. And with the help of his new friends he learns that sometimes its ok to have a little practical joke up your sleeve and a fire extinguisher…you never know when you might need it.
As an adult in today’s society I could fault the parents for not doing enough research on the so-called reform school, or I could go on to say that this book would seem to promote trouble making. And yes, killing a teacher with an apple is not only ridiculous, it’s also not behavior we would want to encourage. Seeing as I am not the target audience I tried to look at this book from a young reader’s perspective. I had a lot of laughs and part of me even wished I could have attended a school like this. Any young reader would love this, particularly those who are fond of practical jokes.