Friday Fiction: 6th Grade Can Really Kill You

6th Grade Can Really Kill You

6th Grade Can Really Kill You

Just recently we posted the book called How do you lose those 9th grade blues?  with the ultra creepy older boyfriend? This another book in the series, where Elsie is a background player to Helen. Helen has some sort of learning disability and also acts up. She struggles with reading and is called dumb (and worse).  Naturally, not all the teachers can see this problem and are just awful and inflexible. A new teacher sees the problem and wants Helen in a special education program. Helen’s mom doesn’t want her in a “special” class due to embarrassment and the stigma.

This book is more a product of the 1980s when students were often shuffled along the system and learning problems were ignored or written off as a behavior problem or just “slow”. The cultural references are also out of date.

Although the idea behind this book is good, it would probably not make much sense to the teen/tween crowd.

It’s a weeder for a public library’s youth department, but it probably has merit in a special collection due to the subject matter.

I liked the other book better, even with the creepy boyfriend.

Happy Friday!


inside flap

shoot the duck

red eye

interior page



  1. Nobody gets stuck in 6th grade forever, dust jacket. Even 6th graders know that.

    Is there more context on Mr. Marshall, because as-is, his dialogue is kinda creepy? Is Mrs. Blob that capricious a grader to everyone, or just Helen?

    And why do all the girls have names that are a generation or more too old? Jenny is the only one with a contemporary name.

    I’m both worried and fascinated by what the “Seventeen” book might be.

      1. I was 8-9 when this book came out, so a bit younger than the characters, but I agree that Jenny is the only name out of these that any of my classmates had. is fun to browse, just remember to look at birth year (circa 1974 for this book) rather than 1985.

  2. Isn’t the first book in this series ‘Nothings fair in fifth grade’? Written from first person from Jennifer’s perspective and everyone bullies Elsie because she’s so fat? i was 9 when i read it for the first time and remember being appalled that not only was were the kids bulling Elsie but the parents seemed to think it was her fault for being fat.

    1. No wonder Elsie ends up dating a creepy predatory older guy. The poor girl’s self-esteem had been shredded years before.

  3. To be honest, I didn’t think anyone disliked this series. I remember a teacher in elementary school having to put a limit on how many people could use it for an oral book report because it got boring hearing so many people presenting the same book. Of course, that was in the 80’s, but this book was very loved in my school’s library.

    1. I grew up in the ’90s and read these this series pretty avidly, though for some reason I remember the one where the girl gets a wolf-hybrid puppy most vividly. I even started writing a fan letter to the author at one point before I did the math and decided she was probably dead. (No idea if that was or is true!)

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