Stanford Wong is having a bad summer. If he flunks his summer-school English class, he won't pass sixth grade. If that happens, he won't start on the A-team. If *that* happens, his friends will abandon him and Emily Ebers won't like him anymore. And if THAT happens, his life will be over. Then... read more
A slack-off, fun-loving, basketball prodigy, Stanford Wong is ready for summer. He's going to spend every day at the park with his best friends (Stretch, Gus, Tico and Digger) and he's going to basketball camp where he'll learn from the pros. But his English teacher, Mr. Glick, presents him... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
A slack-off, fun-loving, basketball prodigy, Stanford Wong is ready for summer. He's going to spend every day at the park with his best friends (Stretch, Gus, Tico and Digger) and he's going to basketball camp where he'll learn from the pros. But his English teacher, Mr. Glick, presents him with some horrible news: he got an F on his last book report and failed English class. Now Stanford must trade basketball camp for summer school - and as if this weren't bad enough, his mom hired a tutor for him: Millicent Min. A child genius, Millicent Min is a senior in high school at age eleven, not to mention a world-class jerk. She hates Stanford as much as he hates her.
Stanford's situation deteriorates as his father continues to distance himself from home, his grandmother becomes senile and moves to a dead retirement home, Millicent tortures him in their study sessions, and his lie to his friends becomes harder and harder to cover up - because he's told them that he passed English with flying colors.
Life improves slightly when the lovely new girl, Emily Ebers, takes an immediate liking to Stanford (the feeling is mutual) but Emily is Millicent Min's one and only friend. Apparently, though, Millicent doesn't want Emily to know of her sky-high IQ, because Emily is under the impression that Millicent is not only home schooled, but tutored by Stanford. Stanford goes along with this lie because he believes that Emily will never like him if she knows he is stupid. In a strange way, Millicent and Stanford form a tentative friendship; they are bound by their affection for Emily, and in the process, the two become closer as well.
Soon, everything falls apart: Emily inadvertently discovers Stanford and Millicent's secret. She shuns them both, not because of their varying intelligence levels, but because they lied to her. A fellow classmate and basketball player, Digger Ronster, knows what Stanford really got on his book report, and blackmails Stanford into purposely losing whenever they play basketball with the other guys. It is implied that Digger's rich father abuses him so that is probably why he is so angry and jealous all the time. Stanford descends into depression because all of his lies have fallen through.
He is saved, though, when Emily forgives him. Also, Stanford doesn't have any more trouble with his friends because even though they know that Stanford lied about his English grade, they forgive him, too. Digger leaves Stanford alone after realizing that his blackmail no longer works. Millicent and Stanford make up after getting in a fight over Emily. Emily kisses Stanford on the cheek and the two become boyfriend/girlfriend.
At the end of the story, Stanford's father reveals that he has been working so incredibly hard all the time because he was hoping for a promotion - which his boss granted him. However, the promotion required a relocation to New York. Stanford protests angrily, but his father tells him that he didn't take the job. He says that he just recently realized how distant he became from his family, and that wants to reconnect with them. Now that he had rejected the promotion, he says, he would probably have a lot more free time on his hands to spend with Stanford. The book ends with Stanford thinking, "I have so much to tell my dad."
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