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How does one review a Jerry Spinelli book, exactly? I realize that it’s probably not great to give every single one of his books a standing ovation, and yet… can we just give everything with Spinelli on it six out of five stars, please? Maniac Magee is the OG of orphan stories, as far as I’m concerned. Maniac loses his parents at a young age and spends his life running, attempting to stay distant, pretending that he isn’t longing for a home. But here's the problem: he is such a kind, genuine, caring kid that nobody can really stay at arms length. Maniac is such a full character, surprising the reader with his humanity at every turn. His misadventures, tragedies, and the connections that he makes along the way are exceptional. Spinelli makes Maniac look at racism and the world's intolerances in such an honest and childlike way, it will make readers of all ages think – and rethink. With devastating luck that middle school heartbreak addicts will love, Maniac Magee is the perfect answer to, "Do you have any more of those sad but happy stories?"
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