California seventh-grader Marley Sandelski lives in a historic movie theater building with his mom, who is blind, and his dad, who suffers from anxiety attacks. Marley loves watching old movies and is fond of wearing "Star Trek" shirts to school. For security and good luck, he frequently carries in his pockets characters from the series and occasionally wears Mr. Spock ears.
Marley is used to being ignored at school, except when he's being pressured into doing history homework for the rich kid, Digger Ronster, or when he's chased and pushed around by the school bullies, whom Marley calls the Gorn. When he's not getting picked last for P.E. activities or running away from the Gorn, Marley spends his time in the Technical Services class with his friends, known as "audiovisual geeks." Belonging to the AV club isn't the quickest path to popularity at Rancho Rosetta Middle School. In the school's universe, AV geeks are assigned to the planet Pluto, which "is no longer even considered a planet."
During lunch time, Marley and his AV friends eat in isolation and discuss characters from their favorite movies. Fellow AV friend Ramen favors Star Wars, while Max, the new kid in the group, is a huge Batman fan. Like Captain Kirk, Marley records his daily events, along with feelings and emotions, into his Captain's Log.
After their beloved Tech Services teacher is rushed to the hospital, the AV students are reassigned into Home Science class. There, Marley is partnered with the sweet and pretty Emily Ebers. He records the experience in his Captain's Log as "Temporarily docked on a new planet. Friendly alien has offered to serve as a guide." Being around Emily changes Marley, but he's still on the run from the Gorn. His warp-speed escapes from the bullies get him recognized and admired, and land him in the limelight at school. But how will all the attention and admiration change him?
WARP SPEED is another charming book about adolescent life at Rancho Rosetta Middle School from award-winning author Lisa Yee. Here, she introduces some new and interesting characters, while giving cameo appearances to a few familiar faces, including Stanford Wong, Millicent Min and Emily Ebers. Yee realistically and lovingly captures the feelings of isolation and awkwardness of students on the outer limits of the middle-school social strata. WARP SPEED is a wise and touching story about belonging, being unique and standing up to bullies.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on March 1, 2011
- Publication Date: July 30, 2013
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
- ISBN-10: 0545154006
- ISBN-13: 9780545154000