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It’s not easy being twelve and in middle school. It’s even harder when a gang of tough older kids takes away your only soccer field. And it doesn’t help that Max is a kid who tends to get a little overly anxious about almost everything. But, all those problems are nothing compared to the crush Max Lapin has on a girl named Tanya, who is smart, nice, a lot taller than he figures he’ll ever be.

This book may be set in the fascinating time and place of 1983 in the Soviet Union, but the experiences Max has are universal to all times and all places. Readers, both boys and girls, will love meeting Max, his wonderful and wise grandpa, and all the funny, kind, and sometimes not so nice characters in his life.