Along Came Spider by James Preller is a middle grade novel. Spider and Trey have been best friends since they were born, six weeks apart. Trey has always been a little weirder than the other kids; in the neighborhood that’s never been a big deal. But now that they are in 5th grade, Trey’s oddities and eccentricities are suddenly a bigger deal. They don’t bother Spider, but the boys he is starting to hang around with, the popular crowd, do not understand him. When one of the boys tells Spider to leave Trey behind now that they are getting older, he has to decide which is more important: a lifelong friendship or his future place on the social hierarchy?
Spider is a well-realized character who reminds me a lot of the boys in my own classes. The middle grades are so pivotal for friendships and I am glad to see a book that deals with boys in this area. And Trey appears to be mildly autistic, though it is never stated explicitly in the text. It’s delightful to see boys dealing with this, as most books I have read in the past on this topic focus on girls.
This is a great book and one I can’t wait to share with my students. I think it will resonate with boys and girls alike. James Preller has crafted yet another masterpiece for middle grade readers!