Control Freaks (Hardcover)
One week. One prize. Seven really weird challenges.
The kids at Benjamin Banneker College Prep are a little… competitive. Okay. They’re a LOT competitive.
The minute Principal Yee announces an epic competition for the golden B-B trophy, seventh-grader Frederick Douglass Zezzmer knows he has to win.
But it won’t be easy. The competition doesn’t just include science, technology, engineering and math. It also has arts and sports. Not Doug’s best subjects.
Even worse, it’s a TEAM competition. Instead of being in a superstar group, Doug gets paired with four middle school misfits no one else wants.
Worst of all, Doug’s dad has a horrible backup plan. If Doug doesn’t win, he has to forget about becoming The World’s Greatest Inventor and spend the summer in sports camp, with his scary stepbrother.
With only a week to go, Doug launches a quest to turn his team of outcasts into winners… and maybe even friends.
P R A I S E
★ "Thomas strews the increasingly suspenseful competition with teachable moments and traces learning curves not only for the students but for teachers and parents, too. Reminiscent of E. L. Konigsburg’s The View from Saturday."
"Creative and hilarious...the novel’s narration shifts among many perspectives, giving a rich, panoramic view of how stressful yet ultimately rewarding these learning experiences are for the overachievers, the socially awkward, the kids with complicated home lives, and all those who just need to see each other a little differently."
"...Witty competition drama... a telling that prioritizes characters’ interiority as well as their impact on each other’s lives. While Doug’s determined voice is the primary focus, the rotating narratives showcase each of the racially diverse characters’ individual stressors, delivering a well-rounded accounting that is better for its multiplicity."
About the Author
J.E. Thomas grew up near Colorado’s Front Range mountains. She spent her early summers stuffing grocery bags with books at the local library, reading feverishly, then repeating the process week after week. J.E. has bachelors’ degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science, as well as a master’s degree in Public Communications. She wrote Control Freaks while working as an administrator at the same independent school she attended as child.
[STAR] “[A] warm and funny debut… reminiscent of E.L. Konigsburg’s The View From Saturday” — Booklist (starred)
"Creative and hilarious.” — Kirkus
“Witty” – Publishers Weekly
“Thomas’s debut novel is a refreshing take on middle-school life—smart kids who know they are going places but learn to take care of one another along the way.” — Horn Book
“Being a middle school kid is… Complicated. And author J.E. Thomas knows how to show readers just how much is going on in a tween’s world, in a fun and engaging way. Rich characters, realistic portrayal of middle school life, and action surrounding a STEAMS Competition makes CONTROL FREAKS a perfect book for kids, parents, and educators alike.” – Fleur Bradley, author of Midnight at the Barclay Hotel
A People Magazine Must-Read of Summer 2023
“Thomas uses wacky humor to deliver a light but laudable message about teamwork and friendship being more important than placing first.” — School Library Journal