33 MINUTES… for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Looking for a heartwarming story of lifelong friendship between two boys? How about  a plot that shows how forgiveness is the cornerstone of two best friend’s relationship? Well, you won’t find it in 33 13260675-198x300MINUTES… UNTIL MORGAN STURTZ KICKS MY BUTT by Todd Hasak-Lowy

What you will find is a book with an epic school cafeteria food fight and a schoolyard brawl that should appeal to most middle grade boys. It’s a funny look at what one boy goes through to understand a broken friendship.


FULL PLOT (from book jacket):

 In exactly thirty-three minutes Sam Lewis is going to get his butt kicked by his former best friend, Morgan Sturtz.
But Sam’s not really sure how this happened. It’s just a year after TAMADE (The Absolutely Most Amazing Day Ever), when he and Morgan became the greatest Alien Wars video game team in the history of great Alien Wars teams. Maybe it was the new kid Chris, who showed up and suddenly made Morgan think dropping a bowling ball on someone was fun? Or was it that Morgan joined the football team while Same became a star ArithmeTitan?
And wait – who even cares about that stuff? Sam’s more worried about whether he’s going to get his butt kicked in thirty-three minutes. And if his friendship with Morgan is done for good.


  1. Takes on a real life problem faced by most middle grade kids: Losing the friends you grew up with.
  2. Illustrations appear throughout and are fun, though not as plentiful compared to a Wimpy Kid approach to story telling.
  3. The impetus for the plot is staring back at us on the bright yellow cover. Well done.
  4. The humor and fast-paced action. Yes, it does extend beyond the 33 minutes but the timed,  journal style of writing was a good choice as Sam tells his own story in a very believable middle grade voice.
  5. The connection Sam has with a few of his favorite teachers.

I personally was hoping for a different ending, but the one Mr. Hasak-Lowy chose is probably more realistic. I’m just a sucker for perfect endings. Anyhow, find a middle school boy and get a copy of 33 MINUTES… in his hands. You’ll be able to see the smile as he reads about young Sam and his tumultuous middle school day.


Because is there really any way you can explain to someone how me and Morgan went from the guys who won our first-grade field day competition together to the guys who are going to fight in eight minutes?

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


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