Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on January 30th 2018
Source: Penguin Random House LLC, Viking Books for Young Readers
ABC's Shark Tank meets The Terrible Two when two sixth grade entrepreneurs compete to become top mogul on their block.
Twelve-year-old Peter Gronkowski prides himself on being a professional businessman. Tired of the cliched lemonade stands that line his block, he decides to start a better business with the help of an intern. But his intern of choice, the quiet and writerly Rachel Chambers, turns out to be more than he bargained for. Rachel is innovative, resourceful, driven--and when she's had enough of Peter's overbearing management style, she decides to start a competing empire next door. As their rivalry and sabotage tactics become more outrageous--Slander! Espionage! Lemonade threats!--Peter and Rachel ultimately learn the hard way that "nothing gold can stay" and that friendship is more important than money.
Alternating perspectives reveal what really motivates each character to win. And Peter's memos and "business tips" as well as excerpts from Rachel's melodramatic novel-in-progress generate fresh hilarity and tension at every page turn. Payback on Poplar Lane is a pitch-perfect comedy with heart, reminiscent of your favorite classic middle-grade series.
Payback on Poplar Lane by Margaret Mincks is so cute. Rachel is a very shy middle school girl that lives next door to Peter Gronkowski. Peter Gronkowski is a self proclaimed entrepreneur that starts a new business almost every week. When Peter starts up a new fortune telling gig, he needs to hire an unpaid intern. Rachel applies for the job. Peter takes things too far and so Rachel ends up becoming Peter’s competitor rather than his intern. This is definitely a fun story about values and friendship.
I found myself enjoying this story because it showed how competitor friends could be and how that can turn into a mess. Rachel’s and Peter’s parents ended up handling the escalations in the competition quite well as the kids kept trying to create the better business to earn the most money. Rachel just wants people to notice her and Peter wants everyone to think he is the most successful business whiz on the planet. I really loved how these kids learned the importance of friendship and admitting where they were wrong. I think this is a wonderful book for middle graders and it is quite fun.