Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (BYR) on June 4th 2013
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Fifth grader Louie Burger figures that with a goofy name like his, hemust be destined to be a king of comedy like his idol Lou Lafferman. But he’s only ever performed his stand-up act in his closet, where he and his dad created the most exclusive comedy club ever—if by “exclusive” you mean that no one’s ever allowed inside. With the school talent show coming up, Louie’s wondering if now is his moment to kill (that’s comedian talk for “make actual people laugh”). And maybe, if he brings down the house, he’ll win back his former best friend Nick—who seems to be turning into one of those annoying sporty types—and fend off his dad’s home-improvement obsession, which threatens to remodel Louie’s comedy closet into a private bedroom for his older sister. Barftrocious!
Louie Burger is destined to be the next best comedian – the only problem is that he has stage fright. He can't perform in front of others and never has before – until the 5th grade talent show. If he doesn't prove his worth as a comedian, he may lose his closet and comedy stage to his older sister, which cannot happen. And beyond that, his best friend seems to have a new best friend – who likes sports but is also a girl. Somehow Louie must face his fears and overcome his stage fright and hopefully win back his best friend.
I absolutely fell in love with this book. I have stage fright so it was an instant connection to Louie. I'm a fan of comedy as well, so it was fun seeing his different jokes when he actually performed (mostly on his own). I love his two sisters as well. Ruby is a bit weird herself, like Louie and is obsessed with unicorns. I found her and her relationship with Louie adorable and heartwarming. Ari is the typical teenage girl, but still shows some love for her siblings and I loved her attitude and interactions with her family.
Then there's the relationship between Louie and Nick. Nick seems to have changed after going to summer camp, including having a new friend in Thermos, a girl who loves sports. Louie feels defensive about his relationship with Nick, thinking he has been replaced and making some poor choices in regards to Thermos. I loved seeing how things became resolved at the end of the book and what ultimately brought them all together.
Final Verdict: I read an ARC of this book, but there were some great illustrations included even in that version were really stunning and brought the story to life. A great book for elementary and middle grade readers that has a heartwarming message.