Save room on your bookshelf for this one!


Welcome to Mrs. Beam's fifth-grade class. Ravi is a new student, and his family just moved to Hamilton, New Jersey from Bangalore, India. He was a good student and very popular at his old school, and he is eager to establish himself at Albert Einstein Elementary. When Mrs. Beam asks Ravi to introduce himself, his classmates laugh at him. Later, when he sees Dillon Samreen smile at him, he thinks he has made a new friend. What he doesn't know is that Dillon is a bully who regularly picks on their classmate Joe, who has Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and struggles to mute out extraneous noises. Joe has lived in Hamilton his whole life, and unlike Ravi, doesn't like school.

Ravi doesn't really notice Joe, as he is eager to show everyone how smart he is. Just as he is getting ready to solve a complex math problem, someone bangs his desk and he hits his forehead on another desk on the way to the blackboard. Ravi thinks it is Joe. He dubs him "Big Foot" and, to the amazement of his classmates, solves the problem. On the way back to his seat, Dillon trips him and says Joe did it. During their next class, Mrs. Frost asks Ravi and Joe to come to her. Ravi is offended and loudly advises he doesn't belong with Joe or Mrs. Frost. As they return to class, Mrs. Frost warns him about making assumptions.

As the week continues, Ravi works overtime to show everyone how smart he is and build his friendship with Dillon. Dillon continues to bully Joe and by Wednesday has made Ravi a target, too. The boys stay home from school that next day, but both are reminded that they must complete their personal reflection assignment. When they return to school with their projects, Dillon attempts to derail and embarrass both boys. Instead, Joe and Ravi decide to help each other, and a friendship begins.

BTSYA / Teen Reader (14):
There are a lot of things I like about Save Me a Seat. One is how realistic it is. Ravi and Joe take turns as narrators, so you get the emotions of someone who is new to a school, as well as the feelings of someone who doesn’t have any friends in school. Second, it is very interesting and entertaining. It is only 250 pages, so it is short and moves quickly.

I recommend this book to ages 10 and up. The symbolism of the leeches and M&Ms may be lost on younger readers.  I would definitely recommend this book to someone else.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Ravi and Joe are great narrators who give you their personal - and totally relatable - experiences! One is the new kid, the other is overlooked. Readers will find themselves wanting to be friends with these fifth graders before the first day of school is done.

Content Awareness Factors:

None noted.

Type of Book:
This is a realistic fiction novel about two boys who share their perspectives of life as fifth graders.
Educational Themes:

This is a great read-aloud choice either at home or in a book club setting. Both Ravi and Joe share their journey toward a friendship (which most readers will see coming), but what do they think will happen next?

  • Will the boys remain friends?
  • Will they take on Dillon? If so, how?
  • How do the boys help each other? (looking for personal growth)
Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
11 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
11 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 14
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy this if you know a teen struggling with friendship or being in a new place.

Title Save Me a Seat
Author Sarah Weeks, Gita Varadarajan
Publisher Scholastic Inc. © 2018 (Reprint Edition)
ISBN 9780545846615
Material Paperback
Cost $7.99
Genres Asia | Asian People
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