Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It's what he does—he and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boys' bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming.
Or at least it was, until one particular Monday. It starts with a third grader in need of protection. And before this ordeal is over, it's going to involve a legendary high-school crime boss named Staples, an intramural gambling ring, a graffiti ninja, the nine most dangerous bullies in school, and the first Chicago Cubs World Series game in almost 70 years. And that's just the beginning. Mac and Vince soon realize that the trouble with solving everyone else's problems is that there's no one left to solve yours.
©2011 Chris Rylander (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
Actor Mike Rylander, brother of author Chris, is full of voices, which is great because Chris's book is packed with crazy, quirky, compelling characters. I especially liked Mike Rylander's characterization of the girl characters in the book.
Chris Rylander has written the perfect book for boys who don't like to read fantasy. "The Fourth Stall" is a mystery, a comedy and an action story all-in-one. The story is layered and complex, as are the relationships between the main characters, Mac and Vince. One of the best books I've read/listened to in a long time. This is a book that the whole family can enjoy listening to.
Maybe I didn't like this middle school mobster story because I 'm not a boy and I never was into mobster movies or baseball, or perhaps it's because the hijinks the characters get into make me feel a bit squeamish as a parent. (Not sure if I feel comfortable with criminal tweens as protagonists I should route for.)Either way, this was not my bag.
Since this story isn't set in some sort of urban fantasy, I felt like this middle school kid being a sort of a mob boss silly in a bad way. It didn't seem plausible. The kid characters acted and spoke like adults. I had a hard time connecting or relating to this story.
I was truly embarrased for the narrator. Some of his characters sounded retarded when I don't think that was his intent. Often I was so distracted by the poor reading that I missed what was happening in the story.
I loved the language used to make the story seem like a mob lifestyle. I felt like I was listening to a cartoon happening with a mix of mild violence.
I think the most memorable part for me was when Mac and Vince got into a quarrel about the money they were saving. This scene was very relatable, especially when you are in a situation where you cannot understand everything that is happening with your friend.
I loved the scene where Mac brought in all of the bullies to create an alliance. You got a sense of who everyone was and why they were a bully in the school. It was easy to relate at least one of the bully characters to a bully I have had in the past. The author showed how they were also human as well rather than portraying them as "the enemy".
It would probably one of Vince's grandma quotes. There were so many it is hard for me to pick one.
This book is great for adults and teenagers. It has comedy, empathy, and a world beyond what you remember of the playground.
double-crossings, misunderstandings, and loyalties
This book is similar to The Chocolate War, but for far younger readers, but far less sinister, with still difficult pranking and lessons to be learned.
He miscued on some sentences pauses and word pronunciation.
I got a kick out of Vince's grandmother's oft-quoted advice.
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