No More Dead Dogs
|Published||2002 (Hyperion Books)|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Awards||2003 Young Reader's Choice Award (Intermediate)|
No More Dead Dogs is a novel by Gordon Korman published in 2002. Its title alludes to the fact that many books for children and young adults featuring dogs have the dog die, including Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, and the fictional novel that begins all the main character's problems, Old Shep, My Pal. The main plot revolves around a play based on Old Shep where the ending has been changed to let the dog live.
Ever since Wallace Wallace was young, he has insisted on telling the truth. After scoring the winning touchdown for the Bedford Middle School football team in the championship, Wallace Wallace has become a popular guy. What the entire town and most of the football team don't realize is that Wallace is really a benchwarmer, whose winning touchdown was a fluke. His former best friend, football team captain Steve Cavanaugh, knows that the winning move was lucky and has cut ties with Wallace because of it.
When Wallace is assigned to write a report on the book Old Shep, My Pal, he won't lie about his feelings. He dislikes the book and writes a negative review, which results in a detention handed down by his English teacher, Mr. Fogelman, until he writes a quality review. His detention is spent with the drama club. The drama club is led by Mr. Fogelman, and they are working on a production of a dramatic adaptation of Old Shep, My Pal written by Mr. Fogelman. Wallace is initially bored. But as he spends more and more time with the drama club he starts to edit the play, much to the irritation of Mr. Fogelman and Rachel Turner, the president of the drama club. Everyone else loves the changes Wallace makes to the production, especially Rachel's best friend, Trudi Davis, who is in love with Wallace. When Wallace's detention is complete, he quits the football team to join the drama club. The student body does not take this lightly, as they view him as the hero of the team.
Soon after Wallace joins the club, an unknown person vandalizes the play set and rehearsals. Rachel believes Wallace is the culprit. Everyone else initially regards him as a hero and refuses to believe her, but when one of Wallace's scrimmage jerseys appears during the final sabotage attempt, they turn against him. Rachel changes her mind to believe that Wallace isn't the vandal.
Wallace is eventually banned from the play entirely. Despite his ban, the drama club decides to use Wallace's ideas for the play, including having Shep live at the end. This decision results in disaster when the saboteur blows up the prop Shep with a cherrybomb during the performance—just as the actors praise his miraculous recovery.
Meanwhile, Wallace figures out that the culprit is Rachel's brother Dylan, who wanted revenge because he felt the play had ruined the famous Wallace Wallace. Consequently, Wallace tells his first lie to spare Rachel's feelings. He tells her that it was him vandalizing the play. After her initial anger at Wallace, she realizes on her own that Dylan was behind the attacks. Wallace and Rachel recognize their mutual attraction, and plan to go on a date together. As for Trudi, she ends up dating Steve. Furthermore, Steve and Wallace make up and are friends again.
In a review for Book Report, Jo Clarke said that "this was one of the funniest books I have ever read!" and that "Middle school kids will enjoy this book because it is so typical of their language, actions, and ideas." However, the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy review said that "the book is filled with jokes aimed at an adult audience rather than one comprised of middle schoolers. These are jokes that desperately wish to be funny but the book produces only one that would be considered genuinely amusing to its demographic" and that "No More Dead Dogs had serious potential to be a much better book than the writing produced."