1. Sonnenblick, J. (2006). Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie. New York: Scholastic. 273 pgs.
2. Steven finds out his brother Jeffrey has cancer. Combine that with trying to play in the all-city jazz band, while juggling two ladyfriends, and school on top of it--well, let's just say that Steven has a rough time. But what sounds like a depressing novel is anything but; it's sweet, a little sad, and very very funny. On top of that, it's actually an extremely informative novel, as far as the procedures and treatments of the illness go.
3. Believable characters all around: Steven, Jeffrey, parents, friends, etc. Sonnenblick does a nice job with Steven's voice and journal entries. The plot is highly believable, though there are some cheesy--if earned--moments. Also, major props to Sonnenblick for bringing the realism of the treatment into the novel, and having the smallest, most fragile character (Jeffrey), be the bravest of them all.
4. If you're looking for a book everyone in your class might enjoy, this could be the one. It's an extremely likable read, with nothing objectionable in the novel whatsoever. Reading it out loud to students would be great; using it in small groups would be great; recommending it would be great. A very useful book, in my opinion.
5. It's a junior high level read.
6. I owe the book a little more justice than this brief review, but I've read about six other books since finishing this one. Needles to say, the book was thoroughly enjoyable, and I've heard the same sentiment from many other readers. It might be a bit cheesy, but as an old writing prof used to say, "You have to risk sentimentality, sometimes." Major shout out to my girl Katy M. for shoving this one on me. Respect.