SUPERSTAR for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Autism Spectrum Disorder is an often-misunderstood condition, especially if you’ve never known someone who lives under its umbrella. The problem lies in the middle word—Spectrum. Autism may include social, communication, and behavioral challenges, but they can range from mild to severe. No two disorders are exactly alike.

SUPERSTAR is a welcome story narrated by Lester, a boy on the spectrum. His honest and heartfelt narration will have you laughing at many points and angry or sad at others. The laughter comes from Lester’s literal view of the world. Tell Lester to march down to the principal’s office and that’s exactly what he’ll do—march.

With short chapters, you’ll see the world as Lester sees it. A world that is too loud, with a schedule that unfairly changes, and where people’s reactions are confusing. Lester will try and become the superstar and the answer he comes up with is both surprising and welcome. Gives this a read and I’m sure Lester will become a superstar in your eyes like he did for me. In this time of hatred in our world, we need more books like SUPERSTAR.



Ten-year-old Lester Musselbaum loves science and space and Superman. He loves that his mom is his teacher, and he loves that they live together, just the two of them, in a little house out in the Indiana countryside. (It’s the perfect place for watching meteor showers!) But soon, everything starts changing. Lester’s mom gets a job and Lester has to go to school with other kids for the first time in his whole life. With the Superman action figure in his pocket as his only protection, he steps into the confusing world of fifth grade and begins a journey that will change his life forever.


  1. Lester’s narration. Your knowledge of autism spectrum disorder will grow immensely thanks to Lester.
  2. The addition of stars, space, and a special astronaut added to the uniqueness of the story line.
  3. Yes, there’s a bully. Seems to be a requirement in MG books.  At least with bully, Ricky, we see a character arc that flows to a satisfying conclusion.
  4. This is an underdog story where you will cheer for rather than feel sorry for the main character.
  5. The reactions of other kids and adults to Lester are realistic and true. For the teacher, Lester is another body in an already full classroom. Eventually the school rises up and discovers ways to meet his needs.


“Please, Lester? I really want to know.”

“Fine! It feels like a crazy mix of chemicals is bubbling up inside me and if I don’t do something to make the bubbles stop, they’re going to explode and blow me to bits.” I pull my knees up to my chest and bury my face in them. “Running away is the only way to make them stop.”


Before being bitten by the writing bug, Mandy was an elementary school teacher, a record store clerk, and once she even sold hamburgers on the sidewalk. When she’s not writing, Mandy can usually be found taking pictures or playing games of some sort. She also sings at least twice a day. Mandy spent her childhood and early adult life in Indiana. She currently writes, games, sings (and lives) in Minnesota with her partner Tony and their two ridiculous cats. (For more about Mandy and SUPERSTAR visit her website.)


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

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


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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10 Responses to SUPERSTAR for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. sbbelford says:

    Hey Greg, I wasn’t sure if this is the best way to ask you a question, but decided to try. I’m following up on the bloggers that were on my list to receive ARCs of Crossing the Line from my publisher. Since you did my cover reveal I’m just making sure that if possible, you will also review Crossing the Line. Sky Pony Publishing didn’t get the book to Kirkus or Booklist within the required time period because of internal delays due to staff changes so I’m trying to do what I can to give readers information about Crossing the Line. As always, I value your opinion and your reviews. BB Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone. From: Always in the Middle…Sent: Monday, September 25, 2017 2:08 AMTo: sbbelford@gmail.comReply To: Always in the Middle…Subject: [New post] SUPERSTAR for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

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    Greg Pattridge posted: “Autism Spectrum Disorder is an often-misunderstood condition, especially if you’ve never known someone who lives under its umbrella. The problem lies in the middle word—Spectrum. Autism may include social, communication, and behavioral challenges, but the”

  2. msyingling says:

    This was another book where I couldn’t believe the incompetent parenting. Granted, we see more and more of it in schools, but I wanted to shake Lester’s mom!

  3. Andrea Mack says:

    There seem to be a lot of middle grade books featuring main characters with ASD. It sounds like this one has a strong main character.

  4. Lester sounds like a great main character. Glad the story was realistic about how schools handle kids with ASD even if they don’t do it right at the beginning.

  5. Wow. A book narrated by someone on the autism spectrum. Ought to be very interesting. I’ll look for it.

  6. danielle hammelef says:

    I already have this on my TBR. I hope to check it out of my library soon.

  7. I want to read this book. I’m always on the lookout for original books about kids on the spectrum. Will check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks for this compelling review, Greg. I think I will have to check this one out.

  9. Sue Kooky says:

    Oh my gosh this book sounds so sweet and heartwarming! I especially love how it educates you about the Autism Spectrum too! I myself don’t know much about it and would like to know more. Thanks for the recommendation!

  10. Pingback: MY CYBILS PICKS FOR MIDDLE GRADE FICTION | Always in the Middle…

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