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Vin and the Dorky Duet by Maggie Lyons is about a 7th grader named Bevyn, Vin for short, who is being strong-armed by his sister, Meg. She tells him she wants him to perform a trumpet-piano duet with her at a Halloween concert that’s coming up soon. Secretly, she has a crush on a trumpet player named Brad Stewart, so she also tells Vin there is a way out of performing with her. He already takes classes with Binkley Stewart, Brad’s brother, and if Vin makes connections with both of them, Brad could perform with her instead. Vin wants no part of that scheme because Binkley “Eyeballs” Stewart is a nerd in every way possible. When Meg bribes Vin with a remote-controlled helicopter and a signed David Beckham soccer jersey, he can’t refuse her. Then he realizes the challenge is not going to be easy since he only has 5 days to accomplish Operation BS-Brad Stewart. In this quick to read, entertaining book, Vin winds up learning the best outcome for a situation is not always the one we plan out ahead of time.
Vin and the Dorky Duet is a comical story that is perfect for reluctant readers ages 8-12. The book peeks into the antics involving everyday life with teenagers. It’s written with a clever silliness that makes it interesting to read. It’s also full of surprises because what happens as the story unfolds is the exact opposite of what anyone expects. I think the way Vin’s mistakes work out for his good shows readers the importance of being flexible, resourceful, and quick-thinking. While a few of the other characters are typical teenage stereotypes, they are full of personality. I especially like the light-hearted way the book reminds us that we might have more in common with people who are different from us than we realize, and it encourages us all to be friends because we can learn so much from each other.