________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 34. . . . May 4, 2018



Gordon Korman.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2018.
231 pp., hardcover, $21.99.
ISBN 978-1-338-20016-1.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Teresa Iaizzo.

*** /4



All at once, the GX-4000 emits a sound like a truck with bad brakes and vibrates its way out of his hand, dropping to the carpeted floor. By the time Cooper stoops to pick it up, the image on the screen has dissolved into a whirlwind of particles.

“Not again.” The phone is dark, but after a few seconds, it lights back up, the screen dancing with color, morphing in and out of elusive shapes.

Then the GX-4000 does something new and unexpected. It speaks.

“Is anyone there?”

Cooper freezes. What now? Is someone Skyping him? Video chatting? Nothing rang, and Cooper never answered any call.

He says the first thing that comes to mind, not realizing how stupid it sounds until the words are already out. “I think you have the wrong number.”


Seventh grader Cooper Vega has a problem. He is, and will forever be, “Whatshisface”. After changing five schools in three years, Cooper has a hard time fitting in at his new school in Stratford. However, things start to take a drastic turn when his parents get him a new phone.

     The GX-4000 is the newest and most advanced smartphone around. Cooper’s parents have given him the new phone as an apology gift for his having to move once again. However, something is off with Cooper’s smartphone. It is super buggy, and it never does what it is supposed to do. Then one day, Cooper sees a face in his phone, a face that belongs to a 13-year-old ghost named Roderick who just happened to be alive during the sixteenth century!

     What starts out as a hesitant relationship at best turns into a beautiful friendship as Roderick helps Cooper fit in at school. In turn, Cooper helps Roderick fulfill his destiny by declaring him the original author of Romeo and Juliet.

     This hilarious novel is Gordon Korman at his best. With the perfect amount of middle school humour coupled with genuine emotion, readers the world over will fall in love with both Cooper’s and Roderick’s quest to find out where they belong in this world. I definitely recommend Whatshisface.


Teresa Iaizzo is a librarian with the Toronto Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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