18 April, 2011

The Fourth Stall - Review and Giveaway


The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander

Publication date: 8 February, 2011 from Walden Pond Press

ISBN 10/13: 0061994960 / 9780061994968

Category: Middle Grade Fiction

Format: Hardcover (Review copy from publisher)

Keywords: Fiction, humor, friendship


From goodreads.com:
Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It's what he does—he and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boys' bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming.

Or at least it was, until one particular Monday.

How I found out about this book: I'd just seen the cover on the Elevensies blog when I got an email from Walden Pond Press about reviewing it. I said Yes, and then I jumped up and down. Then I ate a cannoli. :D

Alethea's review: From the Godfather reference on the cover to the creepiest little psycho bully you'll ever meet, The Fourth Stall entertained me and--I'll confess--worried me a little. How many bathroom-based businesses will be started this year by impressionable youngsters?! I'm torn between a giggle and a shudder.

I did employ equal parts laughing and cringing while reading this book--there's a reference to one of my favorite tv shows, Arrested Development, that pretty much knocked me off the couch--apparently it's Chris's favorite show, too. ("PopPop gets a Grisham?") Rylander gets the noir tone just right. In my head, Mac appeared to me as a cross between a 12-year-old J.G.L. in Angels in the Outfield and Zachary Gordon's voice from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies.

The cringing part typically accompanied the occasional bouts of violence--Mac has to take on the legendary bully and bookie Staples, whose shady business is threatening to ruin not just Mac's own endeavor, but the daily life of his school, not to mention his and Vince's dream of watching the Chicago Cubs play--and maybe even win--The World Series. Staples is sneaky, and employs--*shudder*--big, ugly high school kids to do his dirty work.

I'm not a baseball fan, but I did enjoy the devotion with which Mac talks about his favorite team. It's surpassed only by the loyalty he has to his friends. The Fourth Stall realistically portrays the solidarity and understanding between brothers, though Mac and Vince are definitely not blood-related. Their bond has to outlast not just the trouble-making bullies and the uncertainty of World Series ticket prices, but also a huge betrayal of trust that calls for maturity beyond their years, though not beyond their reach.

My favorite part--*giggle, cringe*--was Kitten. Kitten is the nicest, politest, sweetest little boy you could ever meet. Grown-ups love him. Children fear him. He's by far the most heartless of all the bullies in school. To me, he kind of looked like this:

Up russell


This is a great book for reluctant readers, sports fans, noir fans, and guys--for whom I kind of feel bad, since a lot of teen fiction skews to the girl market. Maybe not so good for bullies. We wouldn't want to give them any ideas :/

This book should probably come with some kind of contract that the reader signs with a parent to witness them swearing they won't open a betting ring out of the darker recesses of their elementary or middle school. Just in case they take this book a little too seriously.

The Fourth Stall is Chris Rylander's debut novel. Follow @chris_rylander and @waldenpondpress on Twitter.

Shortlink to this review: http://bit.ly/rnsl4stall

Find this book on goodreads.com or buy it now!

Comments? Win a signed copy of The Fourth Stall. Thanks to Walden Pond Press for the giveaway!

Last day to enter is April 25! Open to US and Canada only.

To enter, leave a comment about friendship, baseball, bullies, evil kittens, bathrooms, bets, brotherhood, or entrepreneurial endeavors you have tried, and your email address (so I can contact you if you win). If you're really blanking out, just leave a quote from our favorite tv show (hint: if you read the review, you'll know what that is!)

+1 if you can make me laugh
+1 twitter, make sure you @frootjoos & @chris_rylander
+1 for posting anywhere else, like your blog or Facebook (leave a link!)


  1. I bet my almost-ten year old would love this book, although I'm afraid it might give him some ideas. He's always on the lookout for ways to make money. Sounds like a fun read!

  2. That sounds hysterical! And he's going to be waiting a long tome to see the cubs win!

    mk261274 at gmail dot com

  3. I love the title! And your review sounds great.

  4. Wait ... all I have to do is make you laugh? A baseball bully kept an evil kitten in a bathroom because of a bet made with a brotherhood of entrepreneurial endeavors. Sadly something went rather wrong and the brotherhood became a guild. A guild of calamitous intent.

    And ... didn't you say something about a never nude cat? I suppose I should go back and watch the series. I think it's on Netflix Streaming...

  5. @shucks you get an extra point for making me laugh, and at the end of the contest I assign every "entry" a number starting from the top--then choose a winner with random.org. Sorry, I probably should have mentioned that :D It's in my contest policy http://www.readnowsleeplater.com/p/review-policy.html and I sometimes forget to include it in the post.

    So yeah, you get more chances to win if your comment makes me laugh. Mission accomplished!

  6. Loved your review. You captured the essence of the book perfectly.

  7. Best friend since 1st grade, over 52 years now. jbjeanniejj95@gmail.com Your book will have a nice, cozy, love-filled home in our school library.

  8. I know all about evil kittens...I used to have two of them! (they moved in with my daughter) Their names...Cheech and Chong (not exactly kittens any more) and they are just as crazy and full of mischief as the originals! lol (and I love them to pieces)
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  9. Tweet http://twitter.com/#!/mamabunny13/status/60596411649114113
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  10. A comment about friendship - I loved having penpals when I was younger and I still keep in touch with two of them!

  11. I tweeted!

  12. I shared the giveaway on Facebook:

  13. Thanks for the GIveaway...

    When I was a kid, I went to see Polterguist with a friend...yes, that will give my age away, anyway, i had to go to the bathroom during the movie, and when I flushed the toliet, it was so loud and scared me to death that I ran out of the bathroom screaming...like, I knew it was going to make a noise, but that movie was just so gosh darn scary!! (at the time)


    GFC Michele Luker

  14. oh, and yes, my friends made fun of me...for years...still tease me about it at reunions...

  15. My best friend and I are going back to college together. I can't think of anyone else I would love to share this experience with. Jessy

    hootowl1978 at gamil dot com

  16. Why did Piglet look in the toilette, to find Poo heheheh


    Perfect book for my 12 year old :)

  17. I'm imagining that kid from UP speaking in a Jersey/Sopranos-esque voice. LOL This sounds great. Thanks for the review.

    I want a kitten...but a sweet one.

    lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

  18. I got a white kitten that was the sweetest little kitty ever until one day for no reason he is sitting on top of my dads desktop waiting.. my dad walks by and he launches himself claws out onto my dad.. who is screaming and trying to get him off while this cat hangs from him like a backpack.. i almost fell off the couch laughing.. after that we knew the cat had an evil streak..

    :) raynekitten@gmail.com

  19. I have three boys, so I have lots of brotherhood stories! I think the biggest development to occur lately is that kid #3 has grown taller than kids #1 and #2, and is still growing! They are all 6 foot and upwards now!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com