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Leo Biggs has a huge imagination, and when he imagines himself a gladiator, he simply can’t be beaten. When he tries to join the popular group of boys at school, they make him prove himself by doing despicable things. When the boys hurt Leo’s neighbor’s dog, Jack Pepper, Leo takes Jack home and tells people he saved Jack from the pond, when it was really Jack Pepper who had helped Leo. Once that lie has been told, it takes on a life of its own, leaving Leo to live in the shadow his lie has thrown. Leo tries to find ways back from the bad place he’s in, but things seem to get worse, and when there is a sinkhole in the middle of town, Jack Pepper disappears. Leo feels responsible, but does he have what it takes to really rescue Jack?

Sarah Lean has written a story that will resonate with younger middle-graders. A lot of kids will feel a kinship with the imaginative young Leo. Jack Pepper is a nearly magical dog kids will really love. Some parts of the story stretch credulity a bit far, but overall this is a good book that will please young readers.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 208 pages
Publisher Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date 2015-Feb-03
ISBN 9780062122384
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue February 2015
Category Tweens


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