I received a copy of this book free from BookLook in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
Title: The Looney Experiment
Author: Luke Reynolds
Publication Date: 08/04/2015
Synopsis from Goodreads: Atticus Hobart couldn’t feel lower. He s in love with a girl who doesn’t know he exists, he is the class bully’s personal punching bag, and to top it all off, his dad has just left the family. Into this drama steps Mr. Looney, a 77-year-old substitute English teacher with uncanny insight and a most unconventional approach to teaching. But Atticus soon discovers there’s more to Mr. Looney’s methods than he’d first thought. And as Atticus begins to unlock the truths within his own name, he finds that his hyper-imagination can help him forge his own voice, and maybe just maybe discover that the power to face his problems was inside him all along.
I don’t normally read what is classified as Middle Grade Fiction, but something about this book spoke to me. Perhaps it was the fact that our main character and narrator Atticus Hobart is bullied and so were my best friend and I. Maybe not, but upon discovering that the book deals in a way with the topic of bullying, I had to read it and see what it was about.
Atticus Hobart is a 13-year-old boy who is good at pretty much nothing except for imagining things. He is quiet, unassuming, and frankly, he’s picked on. Every school has its bully and Pitts Middle School has Danny Wills—son of the local Little League baseball team coach and the chairwoman of the school board. Of course, having his mother be the school board chair makes Danny think he’s hot stuff and can’t be touched for anything he does—including beating up on other students.
When the 8th grade English teacher goes on maternity leave, Mr. Looney is her replacement. He’s a character all right, a seventy-seven year old man who feels his main purpose is to teach students something that traditional school learning can’t. And he does his job well, to be perfectly honest.
This book doesn’t read as much like middle grade fiction as I thought it would. I was looking for something a bit more juvenile than it actually turned out to be. It’s a great read for any student who is middle grade or higher. Even some adults could learn something from this book. This book teaches how courage comes from within and that you don’t have to be the textbook definition of brave to actually be brave.
I highly recommend this book for any middle grade or higher student—especially those who are being bullied.