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Dead Wednesday Paperback – August 3, 2021
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- Publisher : Random House Inc (August 3, 2021)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0593425847
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593425848
- Item Weight : 8.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.46 x 0.64 x 8.22 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #150,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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8th graders at Worm’s school are given the name of a young person who has passed away over the past year in a preventable event. The rest of the day, the 8th graders are ignored and treated as if they are dead. It is supposed to be an exercise to get them thinking of their own mortality. Unfortunately, it is seen by many as an opportunity to do everything they should do and get away with it. Worm feels pretty indifferent about the day, until his person shows up next to him at the water fountain at school. He spends the day with the 17 year old girl who crashed her car on Christmas Eve.
The story was intriguing and engaging. The characters were interesting. I would definitely hesitate from putting this in the hands of a student below 7th grade (even though the grade level says 5-6). Ideally, this book would be read by a group with conversations to help absorb and comprehend the message.
Worm is our quiet and shy protagonist, but he and his group of friends are typical 14-year-old kids who are clueless and immature. I didn't mind the first half of the book, but it is in stark contrast to the second half.
The second half of the book is Worm spending the day with the ghost (or Spiritual Maiden, if you will) of his Dead Wednesday assigned victim, Becca. He matures at lightning speed, and the experience has left him forever changed. He has some really profound thoughts and does a complete 360, becoming an almost entirely different person by the end of the book. Much more somber and wise. It's like this 14-year-old boy has aged 20 years in the span of a few weeks. It kind of felt like reading two different books.
Overall though, I enjoyed the story and its message. If you read it for what it is, a coming-of-age Middle Grade fiction story, then you'll enjoy it.
If you spend the entire time getting all up-in-arms about how this fictional town in this fictional story makes fictional kids assume the identity of fictional teenage accident victims as a way to teach them the gravity and finality of death and to not be so reckless, then you're going to hate this, so you may want to skip it.
Dead Wednesday is about a school that plans a day at the end of the year where eighth grade students are assigned a persona for the day of a deceased teen from their state in order to encourage them to make future decisions that will keep them safe from dangerous teen behaviors. They are given a black t-shirt, a card with information about the deceased teen and the events surrounding their death, and are ignored by school staff and community members for the rest of the day to give them time to reflect on the tragic loss and how they might choose differently. The main character, Worm, is assigned a young woman, Becca, who was killed in a preventable Christmas Eve car accident. It is a thought-provoking story that challenges the reader to consider how our choices and decisions impact no only ourselves, but everyone around us.