Second Look: Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Keep the Kleenex handy for this one, folks...

You know how you always hear about “that one teacher” that changed someone’s life? This is one of those stories about one of those teachers. 

PLOT:
Mr. Terupt is the new fifth grade teacher at Snow Hill School. Because of Mr. Terupt focuses on his relationship with seven specific kids in his class, each one with their own brand of behind-the-scenes drama. Throughout the school year, Mr. Terupt affects their lives one by one. But one day halfway through the school year, an accident happens that will change everyone forever.

CHARACTERS:
Mr. Terupt is the teacher we all wanted as kids. He’s cool enough to let some things slide and tries hard to make everyone happy, but he knows when someone crosses a line and lays down the law when he has to. As a student, I’d adore him. As an adult (such as I am now), I’d probably want to date him. Jessica is the new girl. Alexia is the mean girl. You know, the kind you just want to smack on the back of the head. Danielle is the doormat. Anna is the outsider. Peter is the class clown. Luke is the smarty-pants. Jeffrey is the kid you would find sitting in the back row digging grooves into his desk with a pencil point.

EXTRA GOODIES:

  • Each chapter is told from a different person’s POV, and I am a fan of those types of books. We can get inside the heads of the different characters, and it gives the author an opportunity to showcase how he/she can write in different styles for each character to make them more individual.
  • The Unknown. Mr. Buyea doesn’t have any tells as to whether there will be a happy or sad ending. You just have to wait it out until the end, which really enhances the story.

OPINION:
I am not ashamed to admit that this book made me cry like a little girl. Unless you’re made entirely of stone, I defy you to read this and not weep. The entire last half of the book (yes, you read that right), I was a freaking puddle on the floor. The amount of emotion poured into the story is overwhelming. After the accident, we see how each character responds and how they better themselves as a result and I think that is a great message for kids. This is an incredible story of friendship, forgiveness, and overcoming obstacles. I think middle graders (5 & 6) would understand the merit and moral of this story better than younger graders would, but it is a truly amazing book. It is spectacularly written, and manages to tackle many difficult subjects (fitting in, bullying, ethical dilemmas, grief, guilt, etc.) in ways that young readers will understand.

 OFFICIAL RATING: 10/10 (Yes, I gave it a 10, because I saw no reason to give it any less. It’s that fantastic.)

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