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'The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez': Friends with words

"The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez," by Peter Johnson (Harper), is about Benny, who is in middle school.

Benny has problems inside and outside the school, like know-it-all girls at school, his sick grandfather and his younger brother, Crash. Benny's family is normal. They all get along pretty well. Benny has a sister named Irene, who is older.

Benny has two best friends, Jocko and Beanie. Benny, Beanie and Jocko form a club together. This is how it works: Every day they take one word from a dictionary (they call it The Big Book) and use it like a word of the day.

The three friends joke around, but they act respectful around one another. Even though the guys are best friends, they don't exactly have one another's backs.

To find out more, read this book.

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