Eunice Yang wants just two things in life: to win The Contest and to beat Thad Warfield.
Only fifth graders can compete in Soap Lake’s annual Brawn and Brains Contest. Winning first place means Eunice will finally get the bike she’s always dreamt about: the Rainier Cruiser. But what she wants even more than her dream bike is to beat Thad Warfield, supreme dumbhead and her archenemy since first grade.
But this year, The Contest’s hundredth anniversary, the rules change. Now, students have to compete in teams of two. Eunice’s worst nightmare comes true. She’s partnered with—Thad.
Together, Eunice and Thad careen through a year filled with cutthroat competitions, vicious squabbles, tetherball death matches, and visits to the principal’s office.
It’s a close race to the very end, when Eunice discovers that being a contender takes more than just brawn and brains—it takes heart—and there are some things more important than winning.
This is a great coming of age story that anyone can enjoy. I got sucked in and couldn’t put it down. — Matthew
What an awesome book. I gave this book to my ten year-old niece, after checking out the synopsis and liking what I read about the story’s themes. To my complete surprise, my niece finished the book quickly, and was very excited to tell me about Eunice’s story. — Patrick
Eunice and her friend and family feel so real–they are flawed, kind, complex, a little mean at times, and just wanting to find their place in the world. Highly recommended for every middle school collection. — E.S.
What a sweet and uplifting story about learning to understand your enemies. I recommend this for teachers in 3rd through 5th grade classrooms as a way to open up discussions on friendship and compassion. A pitch perfect and timely tale that is certainly about bullying, but also gives young readers a deeper message about the way we all feel like outsiders. — Sandra