My February Column – Rachel Spinelli Punched me in the Face by Paul Acampora!

My February Upper Bucks Free Press Column was published on the first of the month it was about “Rachel Spinelli Punched me in the Face” by Paul Acampora! Mr. Acampora is a local author and I had previously reviewed his book on my blog but I re-used the post and added an interview with him to make my article for the newspaper. I hope you like it!

My article for the Upper Bucks Free Press was published on February 1st. To see the original article click HERE and click on the February 2012 edition (page 14).

Here is a copy of it if you can’t get the link!

This Kid Reviews Books – Book Review

By Paul Acampora
176 page -Ages 9+
Published by Roaring Brook Press 2011

16 year-old Zach has deal with not only moving across the country from Colorado to a small town in Connecticut, but also his mother leaving him and his father. They move in next door to a family with a grouchy teen-age girl named Rachel Spinelli. Rachel gets into a lot of fights because she is protective of her brother, Teddy. Teddy has a mental disability. Rachel asks Zach and his Dad to watch out for Teddy to make sure he is OK. Teddy plays the trumpet really well and he helps Zach learn to play better. Over time Zach becomes friends with Teddy, gets a crush on Rachel and starts to really feel at home in Falls, Connecticut.

OH, Rachel Spinelli really does punch Zach in the face, but I won’t tell you why! OK, I’ll give you a hint, it involves a squirrel.

This isn’t the usual action / adventure story I usually really get into. It’s a story about a high school kids life, but it is a VERY good story! I like how it gets funny when there are serious topics (like Zach’s mother leaving or Teddy’s disability). I usually don’t like romance stuff in stories but this really wasn’t over the top. I found that I really cared about Zach and wanted him to have a nice life. I am definitely keeping this book in my library and will read it again! In summary I say – HEY KIDS put down the Harry Potter books and try this story!

Mr. Acampora was nice enough to let me interview him, too.

I was excited to learn that you’re a local author! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve been a Pennsylvanian for about 15 years. I was born and raised in Bristol, Connecticut, where I still have lots of family and friends. After high school, I left home to attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. At Notre Dame, I earned a degree in “American Studies.” At my college graduation, however, it struck me that the only place in America that I really knew anything about was Bristol. As much as I love my hometown, I had a feeling that there might be more to see so I started to work my way around the country. After time in the Midwest, Utah, Colorado and various other spots, I settled in Northern California where I was a kindergarten teacher for an inner city school. I also ran a youth and family services organization in the San Francisco Bay area. After about 10 years in California, my wife and I moved to Pennsylvania. Until a couple years ago, we lived in Quakertown. Now we live in Allentown. I have two children, two dogs and one wife (I know my limits).

I really liked your book “Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in The Face.” Can you tell us how you came up with the story?

I’m really glad you liked the book! Thanks! The story is made up, but the setting is based on several real places. Many of the locations in the book look a lot like Bristol, CT. I also used some local spots including The Lion Around Bookstore, which is in Quakertown, and Hero Electric, which is on Main Street in Hellertown. The story started when I overheard a small girl sticking up for her big brother. I always carry a notebook with me, so I jotted down a few words of her conversation and also described the scene a little bit so I’d remember it later. From there, I started wondering about various situations and settings in which a very small girl would end up becoming the bodyguard for a very big boy. What would those people be like? What kind of friends would they be? Thinking about those kinds of questions led to “Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face.”

Are you writing a new book?

I’m revising a novel manuscript right now, and I have several projects in various stages of progress. There are some comedies, some historical fiction, and a couple short stories. Titles are generally the last thing I write so I have no idea what they’ll be called. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

To learn more about Mr. Acampora, visit his website at

For more great reviews, visit my blog at

**This is also a great interview Mr. Acampora did with his editor. You can learn more about him and his books! Click HERE!

Categories: Age 9+, Other Stuff Related to Books and Reading

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18 replies

  1. This was so very cool, Erik. I read the original from the link you provided earlier. So proud of you. …Yay!
    Will look forward to reading yourfuture column posts so I hope you will have a link permanently on your blog so we can go check it out when you post each new column.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great work, Erik. I can hardly wait until you have your own book published and I can interview you! 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed the book review and the interview, Erik! Great job. The newspaper is lucky to have you. The book sounds so good that I am going to add it to my list. Have you read Rules by Cynthia Lord? It’s a MG novel about a girl whose little brother is autistic, very well written, also very good.

  4. Very nice interview, Erik. I’m adding Mr. Acampora’s book to my to-read list.

  5. Sounds like a great read Erik. Will add to my TBR list, which is growing out of bounds right now! Thanks for bringing another good book to my attention.

  6. I should also mention that I am very impressed that you have a column in a newspaper! Wow, there is no stopping you. It was a very good interview with Mr. Acampora too.

    • I hope you like Mr. Acampora’s book! My TBR list is over-flowing! 😉 Thank you for the compliment on the column!
      P.S. I think that the only things stopping me are… time/scedule and my Mom’s cornbread (we just had some… still thinking about it 😉 )

  7. wow. your really good at reviewing books. I just love reading them and I’m being totally serious. Can you please check out my page and maybe follow. Thanks so much Erik! Keep up the awesome reviews.

  8. Excellent job, Erik!! 🙂

  9. I remember this one looked good. A squirrel? You really have me curious now! So cool that you’re in the paper!

    BTW, I finished Journey to the Center of the Earth Wednesday. 🙂

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