boybitesbug.jpgThis one has been in my future reading stack for six months. I chased down a copy not from a publisher request, but because of several other factors:

  1. I enjoyed Rebecca Petruck’s previous book, STEERING TOWARD NORMAL, and looked forward to another off beat story in the same Minnesota setting.
  2. The title and cover begged to be picked up.
  3. The topic of bugs brought me back to my 4-H entomology project.

BOY BITES BUG is not a sequel and focuses on a different set of characters. Told in third person, the plot centers around seventh grader, Will. He’s on the wrestling team and is not the most popular kid. That all changes when Eloy, a new Hispanic student, is the target of a racial slur by one of Will’s best friends. Will eats a bug to defer the attention away from Eloy and becomes known as Bug Boy.

Will is pleased with his newfound fame, but the strained relationships with an older sister and his two friends cause him to rethink what kind of person he’s become. Questions about prejudice and loyalty stand center stage as Will continues to pursue bug eating in a classroom oral report.

Will is a great role model for readers. He debates his actions and seeks to make things better both in his family and at school.

It was refreshing to have wrestling as a backdrop, a sport almost never mentioned in middle grade books. I learned many aspects about the training involved and how matches are conducted. Will’s friendship with Eloy strengthens through their participation in wrestling, but also has many bumps along the way.

Bug eating is a real phenomenon and even has a name—entomophagy. The information provided in the back pages include recipes for Cricket Snack Mix, Chocolate-Covered Ants, and Wax Worm Cookies.

Humorous and not too disgusting, this contemporary tale has a lot of heart.


Rebecca Petruck is a Minnesota girl, though she also has lived in Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, England, Connecticut and, currently, North Carolina. A former member of 4-H, she was also a Girl Scout, a cheerleader, and competed in MathCounts. She reads National Geographic cover to cover. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction, from UNC Wilmington, and is represented by Kate Testerman of kt literary.

You may visit her online at


Coming up this Monday is another edition of…

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.


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 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to BOY BITES BUG

  1. Bibi Belford says:

    Can you please stop forcing me to buy books? It’s all your fault that I have so many in my To Read pile. And here’s another I will have to order, being a mother who suffered watching middle school wrestling matches, and who once ate a picnic bug while playing truth or dare!

  2. Sue Heavenrich says:

    I love, love, love this book! Was lucky to get a review copy (I call it a STEM-related novel)…

  3. I loved Rebecca’s first book and expect I will like this one as well. It sounds terrific. Thanks for the review.

  4. I shudder at the thought of eating bugs. But, this sounds like a terrific read for tweens who are crazy about bugs. Like the plot.
    Glad I’m not the only one who has a stack of books TBR. They just keep coming.

  5. suemford says:

    This sounds great!

Place your thoughts here with a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.