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Have you ever borrowed your mom’s credit card and assured yourself it was going to a good use? Well, in “Slider” by Pete Hautman, this was exactly what David did to bet for a half-eaten hot dog from his role model’s eating contest. Originally, he wanted to bet $20. Now, you might think, what could go wrong? It’s only $20. But, an unwanted swipe on the keyboard costed him $2000 from his mom’s credit card.
David and his buddies, Cyn and Heyman, realized the horrifying truth that the only way he could pay off the debt was to win first place of the local pizza eating contest and win $5000. Luckily, eating was his specialty. David’s record of eating a whole sixteen inch pizza was four minutes and thirty-six seconds. He knew that there was room for improvement and worked tiresome hours, marking off each day of the calendar until competition day. He acknowledged the fact that he only had one chance to pay back what he owed. Not only that, he wanted to prove to himself and the people in his life that he could beat his masterful, experienced opponents, nationally famous, “The Gurge,” and Egon Belt.
Apart from all his eating training, David also lived a life of a normal kid. He was the middle child, with a perfect, attention-adoring sister and an autistic brother, who only knew the word “okay.” He was very close with his brother and spent a lot of his free time with him. He even tried new things to help his brother become more normal.
Eventually, came the day he had been dreading and excited for, competition day. He started off strong, only a couple slices behind his ultimate competitors. Some time in the middle of the pizza contest, David noticed “The Gurge,” stealthily dipped a few drops of some sort of liquid into Egon Belt’s pizza, which caused him to barf repeatedly after. Sadly, Egon Belt was eliminated and the rest of the competitors continued their incessant chomping.
In the end, David got revenge on “The Gurge,” by his own trick with the bottle of liquid “The Gurge” dropped. With the surprising help from his brother that boosted him, David was led to victory! All of the sweat and blood he shed had paid off in the end. David used his effort to achieve first place. In this novel, the author’s well thought out storyline gives a great sense of emotion for readers.
“Slider” by Pete Hautman, Candlewick, 288 pp.
Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9