Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Short Seller by Elissa Brent Weissman

Lindy gets mono and is stuck at home for a month. When her dad asks her to buy some stock for him online because the website is blocked at his work, Lindy becomes interested in how the stock market works. She's struggling with math and when a tutor comes to help her his background as a stockbroker makes her even more interested in the topic. When mono causes her parents to cancel her ice-skating lessons her dad gives her $100 dollars to invest in the stock market. As she makes money on her money the temptation to dip into her parents savings is too great. When the market goes down and she starts to lose money she hatches a plan to get it back. The only problem is the plan is illegal.

Lindy is dealing with changing friendships at school and back-stabbing by other girls. She moves on to other friends accepting the changes and the author captures the fickleness of middle school quite well. Lindy and her sister fight and are best friends. The two are loyal to each other when it counts and bicker over dumb things just like siblings do all the time. Already the story seems a bit outdated with the electronic equipment and TV show names. The librarian teaching the kids about what a mouse was on a computer was dumb. We haven't done that in years and the libraries have turned to mobile technology. That derogatory poke irked me but that's just because I'm a librarian.

I'm not a big fan of math or the stock market but the author did a nice job mixing the facts up with the drama of Lindy's friendships. When I started to glaze she usually shifted gears to a different topic. Enough information was given to understand what was illegal with short selling stocks without overwhelming the reader with stockbroker jargon. The courtroom drama was well-painted and a nice link between Lindy having to stand up for her friends and herself at the end of the story.

This book reminds me a little of "Cardturner" by Louis Sachar with its unique topic. While this isn't about bridge, I can't say I've ever read a book about the stock market. This doesn't go into great depth on stocks and for that I am grateful, but some might find the topic somewhat slow. I thought she mixed the facts and friendships enough to keep the pace moving along and I think I can find some of my math-loving students who would find it a fun read.

3 Smileys

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