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My Life as a Joke


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by Janet Tashjian

Derek Fallon discovers all the angst that comes with being twelve―he just wants to feel grown up, but life gets in the way with a series of mishaps that make him look like a baby. He passes out during a worm dissection in science class, falls flat on his face in gym class and gets a fat lip that causes him to lisp all day, and his plans for a monster-truck party turn into a bouncy house disaster. Why isn't being in middle school as great as Derek imagined? Thankfully, with a little help from his friends―and, ironically, a Toys for Tots fundraiser―things seem like they could start shaping up at last.