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The Short Seller by Elissa Brent Weissman, 250 pp, RL 5

The Short Seller is the newest book from Elissa Brent Weissman, author of Nerd Camp, Standing for Socks and The Trouble with Mark Hopper. What I love about all of Weissman's books is that she finds a way to take the ordinary, everyday life of most middle-school age kids and from this spin an exciting story with great characters. In Nerd Camp, a soon-to-be-step-brother makes main character Gabe take a different look at his visit to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. In Standing for Socks, when Fara mistakenly wears two differently patterned socks to school, the kids and teachers think she is making a statement and she is catapulted into popularity and a position of power that she's not sure she wants. The Trouble with Mark Hopper finds two very different boys, both named Mark Geoffrey Hopper, who cross swords, metaphorically, mostly, when their schedules get mixed up the first day of school. In The Short Seller Weissman gives us Lindy Sachs, middle schooler with two best friends who don't really like each other, and an advanced math class that is making her life miserable.

Howe, who's dad owns Sweet Escape bakery, bristles and leaves the room every time Lindy's new friend Steph, a transplant from Arizona to New Jersey, is around. Maybe it's because Steph insists on calling him Howard, or maybe it's because it seems like she only thinks about clothes and her new smart phone and taking quizzes from magazines. Either way, Lindy is definitely feeling torn between the two. And miserable about her seeming inability to keep up in her advanced math class. But, before she can attack either problem, she finds herself in bed for weeks with a diagnosis of mononucleosis. At first, Lindy just wants to sleep all day. But, when her dad asks her to go online and make a stock trade for him while he is at work, Lindy is happy to help. In fact, Lindy takes a real interest in the stock market after her dad and her new math tutor, a former stockbroker, explain a few things to her. Lindy is so intrigued that her dad gives her $100 to invest and manage on her own and her grandmother sends her books on learning how to play the market.

Lindy tries to keep in touch with Steph and Howe by email during her long time absence, but communications are limited and she can tell things are changing with her friends. When Steph invites Lindy to join her a new group of friends from her ice skating class (a class Lindy was supposed to be in before she got mono) at a concert that costs $100 a ticket, Lindy thinks about using her stock money after her mother tells her it is too expensive. But then Lindy remembers the seemingly large chunk of money in her parents' stock market portfolio. Lindy has doubled her own money quickly making day trades. Why can't she do the same with her parents' money without them even knowing it? Things don't go quite as Lindy planned and she finds herself in very hot water with disaster imminent. There are some very tense moments in The Short Seller and, just when things seem to be looking up for Lindy, the stock market and her social life, the plot takes a turn I did not see coming! Once again, Weissman has taken the known and inserted an element of unknown into into her plot, making The Short Seller a very relatable and also exciting read!


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