Zack Delacruz returns in this series set in San Antonio. It began with ME AND MY BIG MOUTH in 2015 and JUST MY LUCK the following year. This time around sixth grade continues to be a challenge for Zack and even more so with his participation in the school play—A Christmas Carol.upstaged.jpg

He never intended to try out except for two beautiful creations that changed his mind: Extra credit and the girl he secretly adores. All of his friends from the first books return and although you’ll find an ethnically diverse cast, its never brought up as anything but normal, which is quite refreshing.

Zack’s nervousness and hesitation about performing (a panicked Zack center stage on the cover hints at his predicament), and the relationship with his divorced parents are the main focus. He has to remember his lines and remember which bus to get on each Friday depending on whether he is with Dad or Mom.

A fun read and the perfect start to this holiday season. No worries either if you haven’t read the first two Zack Delacruz books as this does find on its own. And that’s no Bah Humbug!



Zack Delacruz wants to win the role of Scrooge in his school’s production of A Christmas Carol—and the lovely Abhi’s admiration, too. But he’s not the only one trying out for the play. So are José (aka El Pollo Loco), Marquis, and Janie – bah, humbug!  Bowling balls, gurgling stomachs, complete chaos, and quick detective work turn this year’s drama into a spectacular scene that will have actors rising to new heights—literally—and leave readers rolling in the aisles.

What role will Zack end up playing on stage . . . and in his life?  Just in time for the holidays, and with a diverse and funny cast of characters, ZACK DELACRUZ: UPSTAGED (Sterling Children’s Books) is sure to please even the most reluctant readers!


  1. You’ll never look at coffee the same way after Zack’s unfortunate encounter with caffeine.
  2. His Mom is what you hope all moms to be: A consistent sounding board, listener, and advice giver for the son she loves.
  3. The effective art work on the cover is continued with images on many of the chapter headings. The best though are the yearbook style renderings of Zack, his classmates and teachers inside the front and back covers.
  4. I observed an eleven-year-old boy laughing uncontrollably at the potty humor coming into play in several chapters… although I doubt older readers will feel the same way.
  5. An accurate portrayal of life on the bottom rung of a three grade middle school.


The seat next to her was empty.

I gulped. It was go time. My pits trickled a little stream down the inside of my red uniform shirt. I wondered if anyone could see it. Boy, was I glad Mom convinced me to start wearing deodorant.


Jeff Anderson is the author of Zack Delacruz: Me And My Big Mouth (2015), and Zack Delacruz: Just My Luck (2016) – a middle-grade series that has sold over 30,000 copies!  He’s also the author of Mechanically InclinedEveryday Editing10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, and Patterns of Power. A former elementary and middle school teacher, Jeff travels to schools across the country working with teachers and students to discover joy and power in the writing process.

To learn more visit Jeff’s web site on writing and publishing  at WRITE GUY.


Congratulations to Deb from Michigan. Her name was chosen from four schools and eleven individuals entered in the drawing for THE RENAISSANCE series.

I’ll have a new giveaway later this month so stay tuned!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. This does sound like a great read over the holidays. Thanks for the review.

  2. Sounds like a perfect read for this season. But not sure I will if it’s going to affect my love affair with coffee. Ha! Ha!

  3. That cover really will speak to readers as many have felt the same performance jitters. Sounds like a fun book! Enjoyed your review!

  4. Andrea says:

    I’m curious about the caffeine incident! Thsnks for a great review!

  5. Last year my kids and I tried to watch as many adaptations of A Christmas Carol as we could, so this one sounds like the perfect book for this year’s Winter Break. Thanks for the review!

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