The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez by Peter Johnson is exactly what the title says, a snapshot of a middle school boy and the typical trials and tribulations that happen in a person's life. Benny has friends who are suddenly interested in girls, has a grandfather who is getting elderly, and has a conflict with a girl in his class. There are a lot of mini-plot lines, which generally makes a book that I find to be scattered, but it all works in this one. An enjoyable read for anyone who enjoys realistic fiction books.
Usually if a book is set in Rhode Island, I mention it first thing. Even though it is worth mentioning, the impact of the setting of this book is so minimal (except a potshot at RI drivers), that it could really have happened in any state. If you are looking for a book that is truly Rhode Island, then Swim That Rock is your "must read."