Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in.
Joe and Ravi don't think they have anything in common -- but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.
Review: Save Me a Seat is a story about fitting in and overcoming obstacles. The story is told from two different points of view: Ravi, who just moved from India, is adjusting to his new American life, and Joe, who has long been a student at Albert Einstein Elementary and is acclimating to a new grade without his best friends. Both Ravi and Joe are subject of bullying by the popular and cunning Dillon Samreen. While Ravi is made fun of because of thick accent, weird lunches, and his appearance, Joe is deemed stupid because of his auditory processing disorder which makes school challenging.
As the only Indian students in the class, Ravi assumes that he and Dillon will be best friends, but Joe knows better. Readers watch Dillon bully Ravi and Joe in silence. That feeling of helplessness and gathering up the courage to say something and stand up for one another will be a powerful topic for young readers to discuss. I liked how Ravi and Joe come to the realizations of what they must do on their own. Ravi's own epiphany that he too once was a bully in his old school is eye opening and refreshing. I also enjoyed the incorporation of Indian culture and anecdotes from Ravi's grandfather worked well in the story. There is even extras included in the book such as glossaries and recipes from both characters. Save Me a Seat is a great middle school read that will foster a lively book discussion.
Rating: 4 stars
Words of Caution: There are some scenes of bullying. Recommended for strong Grade 3 readers and up.
If you like this book try: Wonder by R. J. Palacio, Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt