Project Sweet Life by Brent Hartinger

author’s website     video trailer  (fan made)

Summary: The 3 main characters are 15 year old boys whose parents want them to get summer jobs but they wanted this last summer off. Dave, Curtis and Victor try scheme after scheme to make money (without actually getting the jobs they pretend to have gotten to their parents).  Bank robbery, a busted Ferrari, and  local urban legends of lost treasure… they have a summer of adventure, all the while knowing “the truth will out.”

Personal Reaction: This one was great, kind of like Lawn Boy by Paulsen but with more active participation in the outcome. This even reminded me of No More Dead Dogs by Korman where it is also shown how much work it can be NOT to do something.

Curriculum or discussion topics: Character traits, friendship

Connections to other books: There’s lots of fiction books about jobs out there! Acceleration by Mcnamee (creepy), One Fat Summer by Lipsyte (drama), Small Steps by Sachar, Dunk by Lubar, etc. There are several books for teens and parents available on how to land a summer job (even a Community Service series) or how to raise financially responsible teens (like Money Still Doesn’t Grow on Trees).

Items to display with book: Lifeguard apparel or towel, KFC bucket, statue or large cutout of “Mr. Moneybags” from Monopoly, porcelain vase, flashlight, bmx bikes (or those finger bike toys), “Garage Sale” sign, model Ferrari toy car; fake money

Food items connected to story: chocolate gold coins, fried chicken,  pie, BLT

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