David is fourteen years old and pretty average. His older sister, Bridgette, is a model student and succeeds at everything. His younger brother, Mal, is autistic. The only thing that sets David apart is his ability to eat. He can eat a sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. But he’s going to have to do better…
When David accidentally charges $2000 to his mother’s credit card, without her knowledge of course, he has to figure out a quick way to make money and pay her back. The big eating contest sponsored by Pigorino’s Pizza seems like his best option. First prize is $5000. All he has to do is practice.
He ends up spending much of his summer trying to expand his stomach. He eats entire heads of cabbage. He practices dipping his pizza crust in water so that he’ll be able to chew and swallow it faster. He can often be found timing himself eating, and comparing himself to the big names in the eating contest world.
But David has another task as well. His mother has gone back to work and David must take care of Mal while she is away. David knows how to handle Mal’s meltdowns, and how to make him happy – most of the time. But he doesn’t really want to be stuck with his kid brother all summer.
Meanwhile, his best friends Cyn and HeyMan are spending more and more time together – without David. Summer, in fact, is becoming a bit of a bummer.
But despite David’s stress about his $2000 debt and his need to win the contest, he shows himself to be a very caring brother. His attempts to teach Mal how to navigate the world without meltdowns show his compassion and integrity. But will his parents still trust him when they discover his $2000 spending spree?
Slider is a funny, light book and most young teens will identify with David’s ability to make silly mistakes while still being a great guy. But Slider goes a bit deeper as well, touching on family bonds and the unconditional love that parents feel for their children.
A really enjoyable read!