Grape, Again!

Fitzroy Books Titles
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Good news! Principal Clarkson says Grape is ready for junior high. He doesn’t have to go to Riverwash, the school for troubled kids! But there’s also bad news. Grape’s best friend, Lou, has moved to New York, leaving Grape alone to ride his Evel Knievel bike, sail with his family, and start his bar mitzvah training—all this while navigating a new school with new teachers, and, of course, the “spiders” in his brain. To make matters worse, Clair, Grape’s crush, has eyes on Maxwell, the new kid with feathered hair. Sherman and Bully Jim provide some company, but it’s his bond with Heidi—a wheelie-popping, cigarette-smoking foster kid—that teaches him what matters most in life. Full of hilarity and sadness, confusion and love, Grape, Again! is an unforgettable coming-of-age story.

Praise for Grape, Again!

“Grape is growing up and learning some bittersweet truths in the process, but he’s also the same irrepressible, hilarious, curious, one-of-a-kind kid I adored in the first book. What a joy to spend more time with him—Grape, Again! pops exhilarating wheelies in every inch of my heart.”

– Gayle Brandeis, award-winning author of My Life with the Lincolns

“If you fell in love with Grape the first time around, you’ll love this sequel which follows Grape’s tumultuous (and sometimes hilarious) journey toward his bar mitzvah, all the while navigating the loss of his best friend and the unexpected gift of another. How will he learn enough Hebrew? Is Bully Jim a friend or foe? Will he ever learn to pop a wheelie? Young readers will delight in Grape’s antics as he faces the challenges of adolescence with honesty, humor, and a big dollop of genuine wisdom.”

– Meredy Benson Rice, author of Dreamcatcher and The Wisdom Palace

Grape is “one of my favorite little fictional dudes of all time.”

– Joe Walters, Editor-in-Chief, Independent Book Review

Don Quixote has spiders…just like Grape. Middle schooler Grape, the son of Argentinean Jews, attributes his propensity for trouble to “spiders” in his brain. When readers last saw Grape, he had just finished writing a journal about his history to avoid being sent to Riverwash, the school for “trouble kids.” The principal is impressed enough with his reflection that she not only lets him stay at his old school, but recommends him for an advanced English, where he meets Don Quixote, who, like Grape, has his own “trouble spiders.” Just like Don Quixote, Grape’s tale is riotously funny yet also concerns deeper issues. Bike riding, sailing, and new friends are woven through discussions of divorce, parental depression and illness, foster care, and coping with trauma. Through it all, the looming specter of Grape’s bar mitzvah underscores this transitional period in his life. As difficult making sense of the world can be, he’s never alone. Told through letters to Grape’s friend Lou and set in 1976, this sequel to Grape! (2019) provides enough context to firmly situate readers unfamiliar with the first book and delves into somewhat more mature themes. At times there seems a disconnect between Grape’s antics and responses and the seriousness of the situations he finds himself in, but it feels like an authentic depiction of a troubled but well-intentioned kid struggling to find his place in the world. A touching, tumultuous journey.

 Kirkus Reviews