Also Known as Elvis

(Part of The Misfits)
LIST PRICE $19.99

About The Book

Skeezie Tookis navigates a pivotal summer of first crushes and tough choices in this conclusion to the bestselling and acclaimed quartet that began with The Misfits.

Skeezie Tookis, also known as Elvis, isn’t looking forward to this summer in Paintbrush Falls. While his best friends Bobby, Joe, and Addie are off on exciting adventures, he’s stuck at home, taking care of his sisters and working five days a week to help out his mom. True, he gets to hang out at the Candy Kitchen with the awesome HellomynameisSteffi, but he also has to contend with Kevin Hennessey’s never-ending bullying. And then there’s the confusing world of girls, especially hot-and-cold Becca, his maybe-crush. And the dog that he misses terribly. And the dad who left two years before, whom Skeezie is convinced is the cause of all his troubles. In the words of the King, Skeezie Tookis is All Shook Up.

Skeezie’s got the leather jacket of a tough guy, but a heart of gold—and his story, the fourth and final chapter of the beloved Misfits series, is brimming with life’s tough choices, love in all directions, and enough sweet potato fries to go around.

Excerpt

Also Known as Elvis FORUM: “What I’ll Be Doing on My Summer Vacation”
Skeezie:

If the service gets any slower in here . . .

Addie:

Relax, Skeezie. It’s summer.

Skeezie:

Meaning?

Addie:

Meaning, it’s okay for things to move slower.

Joe:

Besides, in case you haven’t noticed, HellomynameisSteffi is the only waitperson working today.

Skeezie:

“Waitperson”? Really?

Addie:

It’s the nonsexist term.

Skeezie:

Well, this “eat person” is hungry and can’t wait anymore.

Addie:

Skeezie! Please stop snapping your fingers!

Bobby:

Change of subject. Can you believe seventh grade is actually over? Now all we have to do is survive eighth grade.

Joe:

And high school.

Skeezie:

And life. Oh, good, here she is. Hey, Steff.

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

Hey yourself, Elvis. You snapped?

Skeezie:

Yeah, I was thinking, should I try these new sweet potato fries you’ve got on the menu?

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

I’m glad you’re doing some deep thinking, Elvis. Why don’t you keep it up and answer that question for yourself?

Skeezie:

In the words of the King, don’t be cruel.

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

I’m sure a lot of people other than Elvis Presley have said that, but in the interests of my other customers, I’ll cut the cruelty and say, Yes, Big E, try the sweet potato fries. They are awesome.

Skeezie:

Sold! And Dr Peppers all around!

Bobby:

With a scoop of vanilla ice cream in mine, please.

Joe:

And mine.

Addie:

How is it that you’re the only one working today, Steffi?

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

We lost two employees. Adam’s going to college in the fall and is biking across the country this summer.

Bobby:

Cool!

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

Right? And Tina got a better job at that new frozen yogurt place at the mall. Listen, I’d love to keep chatting, but before other people start snapping their fingers . . .

Skeezie:

Yeah, yeah.

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

Be right back.

Addie:

That is so cute. She called you “Big E.”

Joe:

I don’t get it. You don’t have big ears.

Bobby:

Or elbows.

Joe:

Yeah, your elbows seem pretty normal to me. Although I have noticed that your eyeballs pertude.

Addie:

Protrude.

Joe:

Whatever.

Skeezie:

One, my eyeballs do not protrude. Two, it was not cute. And three, can we move on from the subject of HellomynameisSteffi? And four, if I owned this place, the “waitpeople” would not have to wear those dumb hellomynameis badges.

Addie:

Whatever you say, Big E. So today’s topic is—

Bobby:

Addie! School’s over. Can’t we just hang out for once and not talk about Important Stuff?

Addie:

All I was going to say is, today’s topic is “What I’ll Be Doing on my Summer Vacation.” I’ll start. I am going to volunteer at the public library!

Skeezie:

Wait. That sound you just heard was my brain going to sleep.

Addie:

Just because you’ve never read a book in your life.

Skeezie:

That’s not true. I read your copy of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Somebody back in the fourth grade.

Addie:

It’s “Frankweiler”—and that’s where it went! May I have it back, please?

Skeezie:

Um, I’m not quite finished with it. I think I have, like, a hundred pages left.

Addie:

If I weren’t using my hands to write this down, I would throttle you. Oh, and next month I’m going to stay with my grandma for a week, and then in August my parents and I are taking a two-week road trip. New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC!

Joe:

Ooh, will you bring me something from Broadway? T-shirt, snow globe, cute chorus boy . . .

Skeezie:

You are so gay.

Joe:

You are so not and should only be so lucky. So, do you want to hear what I’m doing this summer? Well, Kelsey and me. We’re going to be art counselors at the day camp.

Bobby:

Kelsey didn’t tell me you were doing that with her. You’ll be really good at it.

Joe:

Thanks. And then my family’s going to Montreal for a week, where I will parlezvous français and change my name to Jacques. Oh . . . oh . . . oh! And I forgot. Addie, you don’t have to get me any of that stuff from Broadway, because—drumroll, please—I am going by myself (with a little help from the fabulous Trailways bus system) to visit Aunt Pam in the Big Apple. What about you, Bobby?

Bobby:

Well, since I’m no longer working at Awkworth & Ames . . .

Skeezie:

Department Store of the Living Dead.

Bobby:

Um, yes, it is kind of quiet.

Addie:

I heard it might close. I hate that. I know it’s kind of an anachronism and nobody ever shops there, but it’s just such a part of Paintbrush Falls. I can’t imagine it not being here.

Joe:

A what-ism?

Addie:

Anachronism. That’s something that doesn’t fit the time period it’s in, like it belongs in an earlier time.

Joe:

Oh. Like Skeezie.

Addie:

Precisely.

Skeezie:

Sound of me laughing. Not.

Addie:

Anyway, the point is that sometimes change is hard.

Bobby:

I know what you mean. But I like my new job so much better. I’m working with my dad out at the nursery.

Skeezie:

The one near the Stewart’s where my mom works?

Bobby:

Uh-huh. I’ll be outdoors working with plants and all. Who knows, I might even lose some weight. And it’s really good for my dad and me to have the time together. At the end of July we’re going on a camping trip to Indian Lake for a week. We’ve never had a vacation together, just the two of us. Never. So what are you doing this summer, Skeezie?

Skeezie:

Sleep. Maybe finish that book of Addie’s. Eat ice cream. Sleep.

Addie:

Seriously.

Skeezie:

I’m being serious.

Joe:

Well, it’s nice to know you have ambitions, Skeeze.

Skeezie:

Hey, our food!

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

Here’s your sweet potato fries, Big E.

Addie,

 

Joe, and

 

Bobby:

Awwwww.

Skeezie:

You guys. Shut. Up.

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

So I was overhearing your conversation. What are you doing this summer, Elvis? Hanging out at the pool, driving the girls crazy?

Skeezie:

Not likely. Yeah, no, I’ve got plans, sort of, I just . . . hey, these sweet potato fries are excellent.

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

I’m glad you like them.

Bobby:

You look tired, Steffi. You should take a break.

Hellomy

 

nameis

 

Steffi:

No kidding. But as Elvis put it: Not likely. Well, eat up, you guys. And give me a yell—I mean, snap—if you need anything.

About The Author

Photograph © Mark Davis

James Howe is the author of more than ninety books for young readers. Bunnicula, coauthored by his late wife Deborah and published in 1979, is considered a modern classic of children’s literature. The author has written six highly popular sequels, along with the spinoff series Tales from the House of Bunnicula and Bunnicula and Friends. Among his other books are picture books such as Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores and beginning reader series that include the Pinky and Rex and Houndsley and Catina books. He has also written for older readers. The Misfits, published in 2001, inspired the antibullying initiative No Name-Calling Week, as well as three sequels, Totally Joe, Addie on the Inside, and Also Known as Elvis. A common theme in James Howe’s books from preschool through teens is the acceptance of difference and being true to oneself. Visit him online at JamesHowe.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (April 2014)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442445109
  • Grades: 5 - 9
  • Ages: 10 - 14
  • Lexile ® 780L

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Raves and Reviews

"Skeezie’s story shares the series’ strengths. . . a powerful affirmation of friendship, compassion and the right to be accepted for who we are."

– Kirkus Reviews

"Howe complements the strong first-person voice with tweets, texts, and dialogue transcripts as he tackles themes of bullying, family, and independence. Skeezie’s story swells with the same earnest humor and after-school-special sweetness as the other Misfits books. Indeed, this is a fitting final installment in the series. Each of the books has a distinct voice, reflecting the individual protagonist’s personality, yet they fit together perfectly, just like the friends themselves."

– Booklist, April 2014

"In this final book in the series, Skeezie Tookis looks back 12 years to the summer he was 13. . . . Howe skillfully blends humor and pathos, effectively conveying the protagonist's conflicted feelings, even through his wisecracks, and his characterization is robust and nuanced. Skeezie narrates the story to his soon-to-be-born son, and readers learn at the outset, as they did in the conclusion of The Misfits (S. & S., 2001), how things turned out for the Gang of Five, but knowing doesn’t lessen the impact of this compelling story. A most fitting and satisfying conclusion."

– School Library Journal, May 2014

"This thoughtful conclusion to the Misfits series begins with Skeezie as an adult. . . . Once again, Howe shows uncanny understanding of adolescent concerns and vulnerabilities, painting a realistically complicated portrait of a boy's coming of age."

– Publishers Weekly

Awards and Honors

  • Kansas State Reading Circle List Junior Title

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More books in this series: The Misfits