Finding the Worm is Mark Goldblatt’s second book about Julian Twerski and his 34th Avenue gang, based on the author’s childhood experiences in Queens, New York. The sequel to Twerp continues with language that is simple and accessible but packs a punch, especially when dealing with the sensitive topic of cancer.
When the guidance counselor pulls seventh-grader Julian and his friends out of class, they share the same unspoken fear: that their friend Quentin has died. Quentin has a brain tumor, but fortunately his prognosis is good, and he will soon be returning to school.
Julian, Shlomo, Lonnie, Beverly, Howard and Eric provide a safety net for Quentin that is poignant and believable. They wrestle his wheelchair onto the bus every day, chat at his bedside and cushion him from the ignorant bullies who tease him at school.
Julian’s principal, rabbi, older sister and friends help as he struggles to accept why bad things happen to good people. Finding the Worm offers no glib answer but satisfies with a powerful portrayal of friendship at its most meaningful.