Book: Born Too Short: Confessions of an Eighth Grade Basket Case
Author: Dan Elish
Keith Livingston is tall, handsome, and smart. He gets girls with the flick of a finger. He’s the star of every team he’s on. He’s written an entire rock opera, for God’s sake. Short, nerdy, awkward Matt Greene is in the worst possible position relative to Keith--he’s the Best Friend.
Matt feels horrible for being jealous of everything Keith has, but he just can’t seem to help himself. After the premiere of the famous rock opera, when he has to watch his date drool after Keith the entire night and listen to everyone else talk about how musically talented Keith is (news flash: he only knows four chords, and Matt has studied classical guitar for years!), he can’t take it anymore. He wishes--screams, actually--that Keith’s perfect life would fall apart.
And then it does.
As if to make matters worse, just as Keith is hitting the downslope, Matt’s life is looking up. But he can’t enjoy it properly while his best buddy is so miserable. If wishes really do come true, this is all his fault.
I kind of wondered if I was going to like this book. Matt’s jealousy is a toxic creature that infects everything in the first pages. Of course, at the beginning, Keith truly is obnoxious in all his successes, which makes Matt’s jealousy understandable. But as the story progresses, Matt’s personal growth allows him to show us the really good side of Keith that forms the basis of their friendship.
There are references to sex and drinking that make me hesitate to hand this over to every middle schooler, but I think the majority of them could handle it. Overall, this is a fast-moving, funny believable tale of how a real friendship can survive anything.