ISBN 0380765802 - Stories of underdogs who take on bullies, the system or the anointed champions are always appealing, particularly in kids' books - we do, after all, want them to learn that they, too, can do amazing things. While Please Remove Your Elbow from My Ear presents that message, it does it in a fairly mediocre way. Because the target audience is the Young Adult crowd, mediocre isn't good enough.
Stormalong Sprague has one friend - Jonathan. They are friends almost by default, because each of them is "weird" (read "different" in kid-speak) in his own way: Stormy says and does stupid things and Jonathan dances. Both are forced to pay a quarter a day to the Terminators - for protection FROM the Terminators. When Stormy ends up in detention, he makes friends with a surprising group of people who all have their own weirdnesses. Among them is Joey, who convinces the bunch to form a floor hockey team, The Dregs, to play for the Morton Mallory Trophy.
Stormy has more going on than just floor hockey - he likes the new girl, Loreeta, and pursues that relationship while trying not to discourage Jonathan in his pursuit of out-of-his-league Amber. He's also battling to keep his younger brother from turning out like him when an up and coming Terminator begins demanding a dime a day from Brandon - just as Jonathan decides to take his life into his own hands by refusing to pay his daily quarter!
The multitude of strange, or at least uncommon, names is mildly distracting - Stormalong, Loreeta (not Loretta), Melvin, Dabny, Adon, Joey Floozeman, Orchid, Tulip... it's just unnecessary. The story itself is okay but not well-written. The way the kids speak doesn't reflect the way most kids speak and, for those parents who are particular about language, " 'Dumb me!' I swore" makes "dumb" out to be a swear word, but "jackass" later in the book gets no such note, nor does "crap" (intentionally mis-spelled "krap").
Most offensive is the character of Dimps - a recent arrival from "some place in Asia". Her poor English is no surprise, if she's just moved to the States, but the author chooses to put a "K" in place of almost every letter she has difficulty with: Jokee (Joey), Melkin (Melvin), kes (yes), etc and to create funny, but highly unlikely, sentences: We wont to scare a mole (we want to score a goal). The book isn't horrible, and might appeal to younger readers, but the target audience is, in my opinion, bound to be smarter than this.