Yee, Lisa. 2011. WARP SPEED. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545122764 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]
Marley Sandelski is like most kids in middle school-- he hates P.E. (who doesn’t?) and loves A.V. Club, where he and his friends debate the merits of Star Trek vs. Star Wars. (Star Trek, original cast, obviously, do you even have to ask?) He keeps track of his life and thoughts in his Captain’s Log, and sometimes carries an action figure in his pocket, for reassurance.
OK. Maybe Marley isn’t like most kids. As a matter of fact, Marley feels invisible; to teachers, to the popular kids, to everyone except the bullies, who Marley labels “Gorn.” When Marley accidentally (while running to save his hide) enters a race, he discovers that he is good at running. But it isn’t until Marley stands still and stands up, that he is truly seen.
Yee’s portrayal of bullying from Marley’s point of view is heartbreakingly realistic, but portrayed without overt sentimentality; honest in voice and subject. She manages to capture the often cluelessness of parents and administration and examines the sometimes ineffectiveness of anti-bullying programs. In WARP SPEED, the PTA developed a motto, “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully” to which Marley replies: “You can’t hit me, I’m wearing a bracelet. Be a buddy, not a bully!”
Use Lisa Yee’s companion books below to discuss point of view. Draw a character profile of WARP SPEED’s Digger Ronster. How do things look through his eyes?
Lisa Yee’s companion books for WARP SPEED with overlap in characters:
MILICENT MINN, GIRL GENIUS. ISBN 9780439425209
STANFORD LEE FLUNKS BIG-TIME. ISBN 9780439622486
SO TOTALLY EMILY EMBERS. ISBN 9780439838481
By Marianne Follis