The Janitor's Boy
The Janitor's Boy is by Andrew Clements, one of my favorite writers. The "janitor's boy" is Jack Rankin, and his dad is the janitor at his school. Jack is embarrassed and angry with his dad, so he carries out what he thinks is the perfect crime: total defacement of a desk with a massive wad of bubblegum. But, Jack gets caught and is sentenced to the perfect punishment: three weeks after school with his dad, scraping gum off of desks. During that time, Jack learns about himself and begins to understand his father better.
Andrew Clements is one of my favorite writers, and his best-seller Frindle is one of my favorite books (if you haven't read it, you should). I love Clements' books because he captures kids' feelings and frustrations so well without making them seem, well, childish. I enjoyed The Janitor's Boy, but I was disappointed at the ending. It was too quick (all of Clements' books end more quickly than most novels) and left me wishing for more. And not wishing for more in terms of a sequel, just wishing for one more chapter so that I could feel like the story was resolved and had come to completely understand the characters.
Final word: B. Enjoyable, and fun to read, especially if you have children to read it with. Not as fully developed, especially at the conclusion, as I would have liked. If you're considering reading a Clements book, I'd recommend picking up Frindle or A School Story before this.