Author: Gordon Korman
Published- July 31st, 2007
I don't know what it is about hippie families but I was drawn to this book instantly. It's most likely because of my love of How Not to Be Popular. They both have hippie lifestyles in their stories. The difference with this one is that the main character loves the hippie life. Capricorn (Cap) loves living on the land with just him and his grandmother. But then his grandmother gets hurt and he has to stay with a guidance counselor who grew up on his commune.
Cap doesn't have a care in the world. Bullies and Sophie (daughter of the guidance counselor) don't bother him. His odd ways and non-caring attitude make him a target for bullies especially Zach Powers who's determined to be the most popular kid at school. He sets Cap up making him believe that they are friends while simultaneously making fun of him. His plan backfires when Cap becomes the most popular kid in school even inspiring others enough to make him the school's President. Before it was seen as a joke but with Cap as the President it's a position of pride.
Cap has grown up in a hippie commune which means that he's never watched t.v., he doesn't know how to interact with other kids, and he doesn't know about the world outside his own. The guidance counselor, who takes him in, Mrs. Donnelly, knows this because she grew up in the commune and when she left she knew nothing about the world. So Cap doesn't understand when Zach is making fun of him or making him go to a room for a meeting that's not even real. He's never had to deal with bullies so he doesn't get angry with them or even understand what they are doing to him. He's a very nice kid who sees the good in people as well as a quiet kid who's just very nonchalant about everything. He lives his life the way he wants to. He'll do yoga in the yard and not care about what people think even if Mrs. Donnelly's daughter, Sophie, insults him or throws water on him. You got to kind of admire the way Cap lives. Sure he's a bit naive but he's able to live his life without any worries. His nonchalant ways can be a big problem though. He doesn't know anything so when he's given the job as the President of the school he just lets everyone do what they want. This little, unassuming boy creates so much chaos.
A couple of the adults in Cap's life are very irresponsible. I couldn't understand how his grandmother, Rain, could just not teach him the basics of life. It was disappointing. Mrs. Donnelly was the only adult who understood what Cap was going through because she went through it herself. I wish she would have spoken up earlier and realized that Cap needed some lessons in the world but I understand why she didn't do it right away. He was a good kid so would she want to show him how cruel the world can be? I also, wish she would have helped him more with her daughter who saw him as a freak. Sophie did show later on that she cared but boy did he get some abuse from her. Of course all of that washed over Cap. I enjoyed their relationship no matter what. It was like they were brother and sister. Sophie unfortunately had a father who was never there but she loved him more than the mother that was there. It was sad to see her mother experience her daughter's pain. She hated to see her daughter's disappointment and I really didn't like how her caring for her daughter brought them both father away from each other. Family life is always complicated.
There was a little bit of a love interest in the book. Naomi likes Zach and will humiliate Cap to get close to him but eventually she starts feeling sorry for Cap and even starts liking him. I didn't really like her. She seemed as naive as Cap but in a different way. She just rubbed me in the wrong way. She went from Zach to him... She did feel bad about Cap being made fun of behind his back but she contributed to a lot of that. It took her too long for me to change her ways.
Originally Cap had one friend named Hugh. Hugh loved that Cap was the way he is because the attention on him was put on Cap. He felt kind of bad about feeling this way especially when he suddenly became invisible. At least when he was bullied he was noticed. I couldn't believe Cap left him behind when he got new friends. It's like he doesn't notice anything around him. That wasn't right. That was the one thing that irritated me about Cap. Otherwise he was an odd and fun person to read about. He had a good heart and just wants everyone to live peacefully. I really wanted to cut his hair the whole time though. It's a good story with Cap in the center being a genuinely good person.
“They've got these things called lockers," I raved on. "The Halls are lined with them. And you won't believe what they're for! They're for locking stuff away-so other people won't steal it! Why can't everyone share?"
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